A 48-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing four volumes of Tokyo Revengers, a popular manga about hoodlum high school kids.
Illustrated and written by Ken Wakui, the award-winning Tokyo Revengers is serialized in Kodansha’s Weekly Shonen Magazine. (Full disclosure: My first two books were published by Kodansha.) It follows the exploits of the Tokyo Manji Gang, and has been adapted into an anime and a live-action film. (The Buddhist manji characters that appear in the anime were edited out of the anime’s U.S. release, to avoid confusion with the Nazi swastika.)
According to Yahoo! News Japan and Fuji Network News, the suspect was filmed allegedly stealing the manga by a closed-circuit camera in a Sapporo bookseller. On October 19, when he returned to the shop, staff alerted the police who arrived on the scene and apprehended the suspect.
“I used the money to supplement my living expenses,” the suspect is quoted as saying. “Up to now, I’ve repeatedly stolen [manga].” The Japanese press is reporting that the man is unemployed.
On 5ch, a popular Japanese bulletin board, many commenters thought this alleged crime was rather sad, with some wondering why he returned to the shop, and what was going to happen to the suspect. “It’s like he’s already a member of the Tokyo Manji Gang,” wrote one commenter.
The value of the four volumes is 2,046 yen, which is around $18, which each copy costing around 500 yen, or fewer than $5. The Tokyo Revengers manga is incredibly popular in Japan, and there are over 40 million copies in circulation. Due to its popularity, Tokyo Revengers seems like an easy manga to resell, possibly flipping it through online sites.
Authorities in Sapporo are now investigating whether any further manga were stolen.