A 34-year-old resident of Tokyo’s Shibuya has been arrested on suspicion of violating Japanese copyright law after selling unlicensed Demon Slayer cakes.
According to Kyodo News, the women sold the cakes through Instagram, with customers submitting their desired images to be turned into frosting, cream, and sugar. The suspect is said to have charged between 13,000 yen ($114) and 15,000 yen ($132) per cake. Since July 2019, it is believed she made over 6,500,000 yen in sales. That’s over $57,000!
It’s a lot of cakes, too.
The Metropolitan Police Department released photos of the criminal cakes in question, which can be seen in the above TBS News clip.
Demon Slayer is one of the most popular manga and anime of all time. Due to its massive popularity, it’s been slapped all over an array of products in Japan—causing a bump in sales for some goods. For example, it turned things around for a Japanese canned coffee company.
Because of the sales power Demon Slayer has, its copyright holders have been especially strict and sensitive. In July, Kotaku reported that Demon Slayer inspired merchandise led to arrests. The goods did not explicitly state Demon Slayer or feature the characters, but referenced the popular franchise by reproducing its now iconic green and black checkered pattern.
This latest case is more explicit. The cakes feature the characters and the instantly recognizable Demon Slayer logo. That why’s when the production company saw the Demon Slayer cakes on Instagram in February 2021, it contacted the authorities. What’s more, ANN reports that a Japanese bakery named Workshop Priroll already has an official license to make and sell Demon Slayer cakes, which are priced between 4,860 yen ($43) and 5,940 yen ($52).
“I thought if I made [the cakes] with popular anime characters, I could sell them,” the cake suspect is quoted as saying, acknowledging that she violated copyright law. “I knew it was a crime.”