A 30-year-old man in Japan says that he recently bought a copy Weekly Shonen Jump for 180,000 yen (approximately $1,230). That’s a lot more than your average issue of Shonen Jump, but the price was so high because this issue happened to be the fifty-first issue from 1984, which had the very first chapter of the manga Dragon Ball.
The man took the issue home, where he owned another copy of the same issue. However, as he compared the two of them, he realized they were not the same, and the new one he bought must have been a bootleg.
He called the police. Since bootleg copies of Shonen Jump are against Japan’s Copyright Act, police arrested the man who allegedly sold the fake Shonen Jump. The accused, a 50-year-old man in Tokyo, reportedly told police that he did sell the issue of Shonen Jump, but as far as he knew it was real and not a fake.
Whatever the case here, selling bootlegs of older Shonen Jump issues is a real thing. In fact, Shonen Jump has released information to help people tell the difference between a real issue and a bootleg.
VIZ Media publishes Dragon Ball in English, including publishing the whole series as a boxset. It gave this description for the plot:
“Legend has it that if all seven of the precious orbs called ‘Dragon Balls’ are gathered together, an incredibly powerful dragon god will appear to grant one wish. Unfortunately, the orbs are scattered across the world, making them extremely difficult to collect. Enter 16-year-old Bulma, a scientific genius who has constructed a radar to detect the exact locations of the Dragon Balls. She’s on a mission to find all seven orbs, but first she must convince young Son Goku to join her on her quest. With a monkey tail, superhuman strength and a magic staff for a weapon, Son Goku is ready to set out on the adventure of a lifetime…”
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.