Manga series Rurouni Kenshin is set to go on hiatus after its creator, Nobuhiro Watsuki, was arrested on charges of possession of child pornography.
Watsuki was taken into custody in Tokyo after investigators discovered DVDs of nude underage girls in his office. Similar materials were also at found his home.
Suspicions of Watsuki’s possession of illicit DVDs first came about while authorities were going through a related case. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police started to pursue the investigation on Watsuki after they received information that the renowned Japanese manga artist had bought multiple pornography DVDs, Yahoo Japan reports (via Comicbook). Watsuki allegedly bought the DVDs in October while working in Tokyo.
The reports indicate that he preyed on young girls in the upper elementary levels to second year of junior high school.
As a result of Watsuki’s arrest, Japanese publisher Shueisha announced on Tuesday that the Rurouni Kenshin manga will go on hiatus effective immediately. According to Anime News Network, Watsuki’s Rurouni Kenshin “Hokkaido” arc will not be featured in the January 2018 issue of the publication’s Jump SQ magazine. However, the company also stated that it has not made a final decision on Watsuki’s manga volumes that are already in print.
Although Watsuki has expressed deep regret over his actions, Shueisha commented that it is taking the allegations against him seriously.
If found guilty of the charges against him, Watsuki could face up to a year in prison and pay fines up to 1 million yen.
Watsuki is best known for creating the series, Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story and was serialized by Shueisha more than 20 years ago. The manga has sold more than 60 million copies in print. The story centers on Kenshin Himura, a former assassin during the Meiji Restoration who now dedicates his life to atone for his past since in live free from violence and bloodshed.
The manga was adapted into an anime series referred to as Rurouni Kenshin or Samurai X that ran from January 1996 to September 1998. More recently, it was made into a live-action trilogy starring Takeru Satoh as Kenshin Himura.
Japan banned the possession of child pornography after legislation was passed in 2014. The passage came after international pressure urging the country to tighten its laws against child pornography. The law, however, does not cover explicit scenes of minors in anime and manga as lawyers and publishers argued that it would curtail freedom of speech.
[Featured Image by Viz]