When you’re sure you’ve heard and seen everything, something comes up in Japan to totally obliterate that notion you have. On December 15, 2013, 36-year-old Hirofumi Watanabe was arrested, not for any ordinary crime, but for waging a terrorism/hate war against a hugely successful manga – Kuroko no Basuke (“Kuroko’s Basketball“) – and its author, Tadatoshi Fujimaki. Watanabe says that his motive is jealousy.
Kuroko’s Basketball is a sports-themed manga whose story revolves around a student who aims to dominate in the world of high school basketball and defeat his former teammates who now play for rival schools. When you think about it, there isn’t really any notably controversial subject matter in the story. The series became hugely popular beginning in Weekly Shonen Jump in December 2008. Currently, 25 volumes have been published selling 23 million copies.
It may be ordinary to prefer one manga to another, and still within bounds of reality to actually not like an author, but Watanabe has taken the levels of dislike to absolutely unbelievable heights. On October in 2012, a plastic container containing a liquid capable of releasing poisonous hydrogen sulphide was left on the second floor in the gymnasium of Tokyo’s Jochi University (aka Sophia University), one of Japan’s most prestigious schools, with a note attached that read, “I hate Fujimaki.” This was the alma mater of Tadatoshi Fujimaki. Then, on 15 October a threatening letter was delivered to Fujimaki’s former high school, which also reportedly contained a “white powder” — a potentially poisonous substance or a very real threat of one. By the end of October, similar letters were sent to broadcasters in Tokyo and Osaka who were airing the anime version of Kuroko’s Basketball.
Pretty soon, marketing events and Kurorko-themed shows were being cancelled because of these threatening letters that were being received. Just recently, Watanabe was arrested in Shibuya, Tokyo, and was charged with “interfering with business.” According to police he was picked-up while putting letters into mail boxes in the Shibuya District. Found in Watanabe’s backpack were 20 threatening letters to organizers of a high school basketball tournament and Comiket demanding cancellations. When caught, Watanabe reportedly admitted “I’m sorry, I lost,” and “I was working alone.” When asked of his motives for doing these acts and holding a grudge against Fujimaki and Kuroko’s Basketball, Watanabe reportedly said that he never met the manga artist but “was jealous of his success.” This “jealousy’ was also mentioned in a letter to the Mainichi newspaper, which read, “Fujimaki who lived a blessed life, and I who have never experienced anyone’s love.” Now go figure.
[via Jiji Press]