Japanese Animator Gets Four Months In Prison For Driving Without A License

Illustration for article titled Japanese Animator Gets Four Months In Prison For Driving Without A License
Photo: Takashi Aoyama / Stringer (Getty Images)

This week at a Tokyo District Court, animator Shiro Kudaka has been sentenced to four months in prison for driving without a license and violating Japan’s Road Traffic Act.


Kudaka has provided animation—including earning key animator credits—for a number of popular TV series, including Lupin III, Naruto, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. He has also worked on feature animated films such as Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, and Pokémon: Jirachi - Wish Maker.

According to Mainichi (via Yaraon! and ANN), Judge Hiroaki Kaize said that Kudaka did not have much regard for following the law. Kudaka had been picked up for driving without a license in June 2020. At that time, he had a suspended sentence for another case.

ANN points out that all this comes as the Japan Fair Trade Commission sent notice last month to anime studio Signal MD for not properly compensating Kudaka for his work.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.


Fredick Menger

No idea if it is this animators excuse.
But for people unaware of the culture. Think it is important to note that in Japan, it is not go to your local office, pay $15, get a license.

It is a grueling process of required schooling etc that takes thousands of dollars.

Info from Japantimes source:

Lectures on traffic rules (26 hours) practical skill training (31 hours). Tuition is around ¥300,000

98 percent of Japanese people who obtained a license in 2019 were graduates of this type of school.