Jong Hyon Pak used to just be known as a manga editor at Kodansha who was involved with hits like Attack on Titan, A Silent Voice and Seven Deadly Sins. However, after his wife Kanoko died mysteriously in 2016 at the age of 38, Pak was found guilty of her murder. In the latest twist in this case, Japan’s Supreme Court overruled Pak’s eleven-year sentence and is returning him to the Tokyo High Court for a new trial.
Presiding Judge Atsushi Yamaguchi of Japan’s Supreme Court remarked, “The case has not been fully considered.”
Pak has maintained that he is an innocent man and that his wife committed suicide. According to him, he came home to discover his wife at the bottom of the stairs and phoned for help. The hospital pronounced her dead.
When an autopsy was performed, the coroner found indications someone had choked her to death. Police looked at nearby security footage, but saw no signs of someone breaking into the home. Suspicion shifted to Pak. Authorities also say that Pak was home at the time of the incident, despite what he said otherwise.
When the case went to trial, prosecutors alleged that Pak “suddenly developed a murderous intent after his wife complained about his lack of support in doing household chores and raising their children and spoke ill of his mother.”
The defense team had responded with Pak’s argument, which was that his wife had killed herself. They argued she was low from postpartum depression and this is what led to her suicide.
Tokyo prosecutors wanted Pak behind bars for fifteen years for the murder, though he ended up only being sentenced to eleven. This sentence is now in doubt as well, as we’ll have to see what happens in the Tokyo High Court and if any new evidence comes out.
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.