On Monday, Aug 24, Usazaki Shiro, the artist for the act-age manga, issues a statement on her Twitter account regarding the arrest of the manga’s writer Tatsuya Matsuki, and the manga’s subsequent cancellation.
Usazaki first expressed their sympathies for the victims, who Usazaki said “bravely spoke up about the incident despite their shock and fear.” Usazaki elaborated that no one “naturally recovers” from sexual assault, and even seeing a person similar in dress and appearance to the assailant may trigger victims to respond in specific ways, and forever creates unneeded stress in their lives.
Usazaki mentioned that they do not want the act-age manga to be a work that triggers similar reactions from the victims, and so considered the cancellation of the manga to be appropriate. While Usazaki also regretted having to end the manga mid-way, they urged fans of the manga not to harass or blame the victims. They expressed clearly that the manga’s cancellation is not the victims’ fault, and that it is not a mistake that the victims spoke up about sexual harassment.
Usazaki added that they sympathized with fans of the manga, or those who find purpose in the manga in general, as they were once also “saved” by manga. But Usazaki cautioned and pleaded against readers using that love for the wrong purpose of inciting violence, and instead urged fans to think clearly, consider various viewpoints, deny information that has no basis in fact, and always consider what should or should not be said.
Usazaki concluded with their hopes that the victims receive the proper care, and to live peaceful lives without ever having to think about the incident again.
— 宇佐崎しろ (@uszksr) August 24, 2020
Here’s the translation of her statement.
On August 8th, Tatsuya Matsuki san, who is the original author of the manga “act-age”, was arrested and detained on the charges of censorship and sexual crimes against junior high school girls. First of all,
we would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the victims and their families. I think it’s a courageous act to speak up in a great deal of shock and fear and not let go of the anger of damaging your dignity. Although the judicial decision has not yet been made, I would like to take seriously the fact that the victim reported the case and the procedure of arrest/detention was taken. I have fully accepted the decision of the Jump Editorial Department regarding the end of the “act-age” serialization that accompanies this incident and the response to serialization, the volumes, merch, etc. The wounds caused by sex crimes cannot be healed naturally. Every time I pass by a person with a similar appearance, my body becomes stronger, I walk fast, I am afraid to walk the night road, causing tension and fear that I did not originally need in the life of the victim.
Considering that there is a possibility that they will be provoked or cause distress by seeing the work “act-age” itself, we decided that the end of the work was appropriate.
And I would like to ask all the fans who love the work. Thank you for your continued support of act-age. This time I ended the work in the middle of the road, but I, like everyone, I am very sorry.
However, it is absolutely necessary that the voice that misses the work does not put a heavy burden on the victim. Of course, it’s not the victim’s fault that the work ends. It is no mistake that the victims screamed and put up with their pain and did not cry and fall asleep for perverts and sex crimes. The right thing is the result of
doing it right. I don’t think that you should underestimate your courage and actions, or hurt them further with suspicious or humiliating words.
You can understand the feelings of the people who are saved by the manga and the fans who made the work worth living.
l am also saved by manga. I’m full of feelings I can’t do anything about. But don’t turn that love in the wrong direction as violence. Please think carefully, take various perspectives, and choose what to say or not to be fooled by unfounded information. Lastly, I hope that the victims will be thoroughly cared for and will be able to spend their peace of mind in the future without feeling the same.
– August 24, 2020, Usazaki Shiro
NHK reported on August 8 that Matsuki was arrested on suspicion of committing an indecent act with a female middle school student. According to police, the girl was walking in the Nakano ward of Tokyo on June 18 at 8:00 p.m. when the suspect approached the girl from behind while on a bicycle and touched her inappropriately. Afterwards, the suspect fled the scene on the bicycle. The girl went to the police, who analyzed security camera footage to investigate. Police discovered through security footage that about an hour later, a similar incident on a nearby road with a different female middle school student occurred, involving a suspect who resembled Matsuki.
Matsuki reportedly told police “there’s generally nothing incorrect” with their accusations.
The editors of Shueisha‘s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine had announced on August 10 that they cancelled the serialization of the manga itself. The chapter that appeared in this year’s combined 36th and 37th issue, which shipped on August 11, is the final chapter. Shueisha also ceased sales and distribution of the manga’s physical and digital volumes.
Source: Shiro Usazaki‘s Twitter account