Ken Akamatsu is the bestselling mangaka behind Love Hina, Negima!, UQ Holder! and more, and in the future he might be a professional politician. He’s declared he wants to run for the House of Councillors, which is the upper house of the National Diet of Japan. He said his interest in politics is to protect freedom of expression. He’s aligning himself with the Liberal Democratic Party, which, despite its name, is not a left-wing party.
He’s expressed concerns for creative expression before, like when producers overruled creatives at The Simpsons and changed some of its long-working actors with other actors so that some actors’ races matched the characters.
“It may look like an excessive reaction when looking at things from Japan, but foreign countries have their own particular issues, so I will refrain from simplistic criticism and instead observe the situation for a while,” he remarked. “However, I will say that the move to select actors on their race rather than their individual talents appears to go against the path that humanity has walked throughout history.”
He’s also talked about freedom of expression in Japan. “I am very curious about the current movement overseas to erase or remove past works,” he commented. “Osamu Tezuka’s manga had quite a few discriminatory expressions, but it’s standard in Japan to leave an explanatory note about that while preserving the work as it was in the past. As works that feature discriminatory expressions undergo more and more regulation, it may become impossible to see those old works. However, when it comes to the works that will be created in the present and future, I see absolutely no problem in creators such as myself individually applying our own discretion and consideration while having our freedom of expression protected. I hope that both sides can maintain a good balance.”
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.