My Hero Academia chapter 259 villain name caused Shueisha to issue a formal apology
My Hero Academia chapter 259 revealed the full name of the evil scientist loyal to the League of Villains. Previously known only for his pseudonym of Daruma Ujiko, the evil scientist’s name was revealed as Maruta Shiga. Unfortunately, this name received negative feedback from many Chinese readers of the manga which caused Shueisha to issue abformal apology.
Consequently, the manga and anime of the same name were removed from Chinese digital platforms, bilibili, and Tencent. When asked by an English-language news service, Abacus, bilibili only answered that the removal of the title from their platform was in accordance with China’s policies. There was no response from Tencent.
Why was China offended
Apparently, the word “maruta” has a traumatic effect on the Chinese people rooting from the second world war. “Maruta” was the term used as code-name for the victims of the human experimentation done by the Imperial Japanese army’s Unit 731 during World War II.
Unit 731 was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) of World War II. The biological weapons were tested in the field of cities and towns in China with its people as subjects.
To this, Shueisha, the publisher of My Hero Academia, formally apologizes. The apology reads:
Formal apology for the name used in My Hero Academia in Weekly Shonen Jump Issue 10, 2020
Regarding the character “Maruto Shiga–which appeared in chapter 259 of My Hero Academia (Weekly Shonen Jump Issue 10, February 3, 2020), a large number of readers from China and other countries have pointed out that the name evokes memories of the tragic past. “Shiga” is part of another character’s name, and Maruta (kanji: round + fat) reflects the appearance of the character in question. Any apparent reference to historical events was wholly unintentional. Despite this, the character’s role as a doctor for the evil organization, combined with his name, ended up being hurtful to overseas readers in China and elsewhere. The editorial department out to have taken the time beforehand to put more thought into this. We did not, and for that, we are profoundly sorry.
With all sincerity, we realize the gravity of this issue and will change the name both in the physical volume release and, as soon as possible, in the digital version of the chapter.
So that this kind of issue does not occur again going forward, we intend to devote our energies toward deepening our understanding of a variety of historical and cultural matters. By being more intimately aware of the thoughts and feelings of those from all walks of life, we will deliver manga that can be loved by all.
February 7th, 2020
Additionally, the creator of My Hero Academia also released a statement apologizing for the unfortunate coincident:
By using the name “Maruta Shiga” in chapter 259 of My Hero Academia, I deeply offended a great number of readers. I am truly sorry about this. The character–with deep reverence and wanting to feel closer to the League of Villain’s former boss, All For One–decided to take part of All For One’s last name (Shigaraki) and make it his own (Shiga). I gave him the first name “Maruta” because he’s round and plump. Any other meaning is coincidental, and I had absolutely no intention of hurting so many readers, which I now know that I did. I apologize from the bottom of my heart.
Going forward, I will do my utmost to make sure that this sort of thing never happens again.
Furthermore, Horikoshi stated that he will change the name of the villain to Daruma Ujiko as its name in My Hero Academia chapter 259 caused some issues.
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