About a year ago, we first heard word that not all was well in the land of Ufotable. That’s the anime studio behind properties like Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel and Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. The story was that Ufotable founder Hikaru Kondo and his wife were pocketing the cash from Ufotable’s cafes without paying taxes on those sales. Finally, early this month, Kondo was officially charged for failing to pay ¥139 million in taxes.
On June 13, publication Bunshun Online revealed some additional details behind the tax evasion story. A person connected to Ufotable told Bunshun the following:
“In March 2019, the police did their search, but up to then, [Kondo and his wife] had taken more than ¥2.5 billion from sales in the cafe and merchandise. On the day of the search, the police looked in the cafe’s safe and were shocked, saying, ‘wow, there’s this much here!’ Kondo’s wife doesn’t have any accounting qualifications, and it seems her tax work was slipshod.”
The same interviewee revealed that the company tried hard (ultimately unsuccessfully) to keep news of the police search from going public:
“The search took place right before Demon Slayer was about to go on air. If the manga publisher and TV stations were to abandon Ufotable, this anime with over ¥500 million in production costs could’ve gone bust and brought Ufotable to ruin. Kondo was frantic, and ordered his employees not to speak about the incident.”
However, word got out, sending Kondo into an uproar, said the interviewee, who claimed that thereafter Kondo had cameras installed in the cafes to watch over the employees. The interviewee believes the announcement that Kondo was being charged was tax evasion was timed for after the Demon Slayer manga and first season of the anime ended.
Finally, Bunshun says that while Ufotable has announced it has repaid the missing taxes, there is still a chance the company and Kondo will be prosecuted.
Source: Bunshun Online