Ken Akamatsu, author of the critically acclaimed manga Love Hina, Negima!, and UQ Holder! secured a seat in Japan’s House of Councilors on July 10. According to Akamatsu, he is the first-ever manga artist to be elected in Japan’s legislature.
Aside from this being a win for people in the manga industry, this victory is also a win for the fight for freedom of expression. During his announcement of intent to run last December 9, 2021, Akamatsu also stated that his main priority for securing a seat in Japan’s legislature is to protect the stated cause.
Before being declared as a candidate under the leading Liberal Democratic Party on December 22, 2021, Akamatsu showed support for freedom of expression through his statement on UN Women’s protest to revise The Nikkei’s commercial advertisement created for Kiseki Himuro’s Tawawa on Monday. In a tweet posted in April 2022, he labeled this act as an “external pressure,” which is opposed to the essence of the principle he supports. According to him, “such restrictions on expression will eventually destroy the culture itself.”
Even earlier than that, in 2021 Akamatsu became the supreme advisor of Hyogen no Jiyu wo Mamoru-Kai, a group that holds also aims to protect freedom of expression. The group’s chairperson, Tara Yamada, who is also from the LDP and won the same seat last 2019, supported him during the election. Akamatsu revealed in an interview with Bunshun that he accepted the former’s offer to join him after several attempts as he believed that entering The House of Councilors would be vital in extending the principle they both share.
Akamatsu’s win was also praised in the manga industry. One-Punch Man’s manga artist, Yusuke Murata, congratulated him through a tweet.
— 村田雄介 (@NEBU_KURO) July 10, 2022
Manga artist of Zatch Bell!, Raiku Makoto, also expressed support and even tweeted a screenshot from NHK’s, a Japanese broadcaster, page to show that Akamatsu was indeed winning.
— 雷句誠 (@raikumakoto) July 10, 2022
Many other manga artists also congratulated Akamatsu, including Kenjiro Hata of Tonikaku Kawaii, Hiroyuki of Girlfriend, Girlfriend, Koji Seo of A Town Where You Live, and Akihito Tsukushi of Made in Abyss.
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