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Rurouni Kenshin creator arrested for possession of child pornography

Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story (るろうに剣心 明治剣客浪漫譚, Rurōni Kenshin Meiji Kenkaku Rōmantan), also known as Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai X, is a very popular Japanese manga series. It is written and illustrated by Nobuhiro Watsuki (a pseudonym – the creator’s real name is Wataruki Nishiwaki).

The title commenced publication in 1994, published by the evergreen Shonen Jump Magazine, and has sold over 70 million copies. It consists of 28 volumes. Rurouni Kenshin has been made into both anime and live-action motion pictures. The first Rurouni Kenshin movie became a domestic and international hit following its 2012 release, earning USD36 million in Japan and over USD60 million worldwide. The anime series has been translated into English and published by Madman Entertainment.

The main character is modelled on the story of a historical figure, a samurai from the Edo Period named Kawakami Gensai. It is a typical jidaigeki (samurai period drama) featuring chanbara (swordplay). The hero of the story, Kenshin Himura, is a quietly spoken and humble master swordsman. The character’s adventures are set in the twilight of the Shogunate. As a consequence of his skill, Kenshin came to be known as Hitokiri Battosai (“Sword-drawing Manslayer”). The end of the Shogunate and the Meiji Restoration, however, prompts Kenshin to vow never to kill again. Accordingly, Kenshin carries a sword with a reversed blade that he uses to stun and not cut his opponents. In 2014, Watsuki released a spinoff manga titled Honō wo Suberu -Rurouni Kenshin: Uramaku (“Controlling Flame -Rurouni Kenshin: Hidden Chapter”), which focused on the series’ villains, Shishio Makoto and Yumi Komagata.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun, investigators discovered several DVDs featuring nude under-15-year-old girls at Watsuki’s Tokyo office. DVDs with similar content are also alleged to have been identified at his home.

After a gap of almost two decades, a new story arc for the Rurouni Kenshin manga had been announced in March 2017, with Watsuki overseeing its production. This followed on from a two chapter prologue published in 2016, entitled Rurouni Kenshin Hokkaido-hen Jomaku: Ashitaro Zenka Ari , set in Hokkaido. But yesterday, the title’s publisher, Shueisha, is reported by the Japan Times that it “takes the matters gravely and the cartoonist has deep regrets”, and has suspended the series as of December 2017.