My Hero Academia writer apologizes for referencing Japanese war crimes in manga

Image: Bones Inc./Funimation

My Hero Academia creator Kohei Horikoshi is changing the name of a recently revealed character in response to fan backlash.

Dr. Daruma Ujiko’s full name was revealed as Maruta Shiga in Chapter 259 of My Hero Academia, with “maruta” being the Japanese name for victims of human experimentation during World War II. Seeing as the character is a follower of series villain All For One and a scientist who actually does experiment on humans, this left a bad taste in many fans’ mouths.

“Many have pointed out that the character name ‘Shiga Maruta’ in this week’s Jump chapter has brought up recollections of acts done in the past. I did not intend for that name to be associated as such. I take this matter very seriously and will change the name,” Horikoshi said in a Twitter statement, according to a translation by aitaikimochi. Aitaikimochi also noted that Horikoshi’s statement uses Japanese language to express an apology, though it gets lost in translation.

Shonen Jump, the weekly magazine where My Hero Academia is published, also posted a statement, saying readers “pointed out in the latest My Hero Academia chapter that the character ‘Maruta’ had a name that recalled ‘past historical facts’. There was no intention behind the naming from the author or editorial department. However, since it’s not our intention to overlap work with unrelated historical facts, after consulting with the author, we have decided to change the name when chapters are compiled in future volumes,” according to a translation by an unofficial Shonen Jump account.

The latest arc in the My Hero Academia manga features the characters honing in on the villians, while much more seems to be cooking behind the scenes from various parties. Ujiko, the creator of the monstrous Nomu, has finally been exposed and the heroes are ready to nab him for his crimes.

Comments

Hard to believe that there was no intention to name the character that way. It seems based on the way the information is presented in this article that he basically named the character "Dr. O’Warcrimes"

based on his response, it sounds like he intended for it to be a reference but did not grasp how abhorrent people would find it. he probably thought it was a clever historic reference and nothing more

glad he’s being so cool about it and changing it. it actually seems like a genuine mistake that even his editors didnt think would be a big deal due to historical distance

i could be 100% wrong of course so i hope someone tells me more about the context if i am

As far as I know, those atrocities are still a sensitive topic in East Asia because Japan hasn’t formally acknowledged nor apologized for those war crimes.

Also, it doesn’t seem like it’s considered a sensitive topic within Japan. I mean, Sogiita Gunha in A Certain Scientific Railgun runs around with a shirt that is basically a swastika as far as non-Japanese East Asians are concerned.

They wear swastikas all willy nilly cause like you said, the Japanese never acknowledged their war crimes or apologized. They still think they were in the right joing the nazis so nazi symbolism doesn’t mean the same thing to them as it does the rest of the world. If anything they were upset because the name insinuated they did commit war crimes, which they still deny to this day.

Swastikas were flipped and appropriated by the Nazi, which doesn’t seem to be Japan’s problem as far as they’re concerned. If the IJN wore slanted Christian crosses into battle, we probably wouldn’t stop putting crosses on everything.

Japan has also officially issued a number of apologies. What’s true is Western nations haven’t been quite as relentless into shaming them as they did with Germany. Cold War might gave helped with that, I have a hard time imagining the US side with China and Vietnam to criticise Japan too much.

It’s also true there’s a lot left to apologise for, but again we don’t seem to be in a hurry to throw Japan under the bus for a little crime against humanity here or there.

They did acknowledge it a number of times. But there is a point when you stop apologizing. It was almost 80 years ago. Almost everyone involved is dead and the crimes of the fathers is not the sons or grandsons by this point.
They very much have put it in their past now as the rest of the damn world should. History that should be remembered, learned from, but not dragged through the mud put upon people that had nothing to do with it.

Gosh forbid someone might be "uncomfortable" about finding out the history of one’s country.

That’d be the worst.

depends on the crime and the kind of reach it’s had. sometimes it remains relevant to this day. see: america and systemic racism

racism still exists so of course it’s relevant.
Japan is not at war, and not committing war crimes, and haven’t done so for almost 100 years. Can we fucking move on please?

you realize the war wasn’t that long ago, right?

Would Germany’s apologies be considered sincere if it were demanding the removal of holocaust memorials? Because Japan is currently demanding the removal of memorials to comfort women. And their high ranking officials visit or send tributes to a shrine where war criminals are buried.

Wait, do you honestly believe Japan got Swastikas from Germany?

It a symbol that appeared as early as 3000 BCE and it came to Japan with most of the Chinese scripture as early as the 8th century.

So I assume having used it for more than 1200 years is the reason its still seen in Japan, not the fact that some white europeans they were allied adopted it.

The other statements are basically you generalizing the entire population of Japan for the actions done by right wing japanese politicians clinging to the notion that there weren’t any war crimes. You can easily google the times Japan has apologized yourself however, though the complications then arise from later politicians trying to downplay Japan’s role which again opens up old wounds all over again. And so the circle continues.

Yea I didn’t mean to imply all Japanese, just the elder, vocal minority. Also my knowledge of how they treated the situation was from like 15 to 20 years ago so I’m sure alot has changed as the people alive back then become fewer and fewer.

A lot of Shonen Jump’s comics seem to have weird morality that slips in from time to time, like a hero apologizing to a cruel warlord because "it’s not wrong to expand your territory but~" or strange things like that.

Hey, what’s the most bizarre moral "lesson" a manga ever tried to teach?

like a hero apologizing to a cruel warlord because "it’s not wrong to expand your territory but~" or strange things like that.

holy shit which one of them did this

Powerpuff Girls Z. Fuzzy Lumpkins was chastised for being rude, not for expanding his "property".

Not saying you don’t have a point but wondering why you said a lot of Shonen Jump’s comics have that message but then gave an example that’s not a Shonen Jump comic?

I wasn’t being rigorous, it was just the example that jumped to mind.

For the record, I don’t think this guy had bad intentions. I actually like his work (Oumagadoki Zoo > Hero Academia there I said it).

basically a swastika as far as non-Japanese East Asians are concerned.

You do know other East-Asian Buddhists still use the swastika symbols, right? It’s not a strictly Japanese thing.

Just for clarity, Noper wasn’t referring to an actual swastika.
They wrote "basically a swastika" because the character he’s referring to wears the symbol from the Imperial Japanese Navy flag — the one with the red sun and expanding sunbeams. So, he was equating that symbol with the swastika.

He was talking about a shirt with the Rising Sun on it, which is seen as a symbol of oppression by a number of Eastern asian countries, similar to how Swastikas are viewed in the west.

I’m not 100% sure about his intentionality. Like there’s a connection but in the wrong direction since he’s essentially named his villain "Victim."

That’s pretty much how he names all his characters lol. I mean there’s a guy who wields electricity whose name is basically "Electric McLightning"

There’s a trend of naming a lot of stuff in this show/comic after U.S. movies. Let’s hope he avoids the temptation to name some hero "Pearl Harbor".

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