Hikaru Kondo, the founder, representative director, and president of ufotable, has been officially found guilty of tax evasion. The Tokyo District Court said that Kondo cheated by not paying 138 million yen (about $1.25 million) that he owed in taxes.
In terms of sentencing, he received 20 months, though that sentence is being suspended for three years. In other words, if he behaves himself for three years, he won’t spend any time behind bars.
The court noted that Kondo had made his wife, who was ufotable’s accountant, fudge the business’s tax filings, though she didn’t want to do so. Because of his insistence that she do this, the court said it revealed “strong intent” and the wrong numbers weren’t just an honest accident. Kondo had also confessed to the charges back in September during a preliminary hearing. At the time he additionally said he was sorry and insisted that he believed he would “not bring trouble to [ufotable]” with his tax evasion.
According to the prosecution, Kondo and ufotable concealed some of their earnings from 2015 to 2018 that they made from merchandise and cafés. The amount concealed totaled 441 million yen (which is approximately $4 million). Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun news outlet reported about 30% of the money made off some of their Tokyo restaurants was allegedly kept in a private safe and not accounted for.
ufotable the company has responded to the guilty verdict and sentence by saying they’re sorry to fans and others, and promising to do better in the future. Back in July they also said they’d fixed their tax return and paid what was owed.
ufotable was founded by Kondo 21 years ago. It’s been especially successful since it began making the anime adaptation of the bestselling Demon Slayer manga, including the worldwide record-breaking movie, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train.
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.