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Journalist Calls for More Mental Care After Sexy Tanaka-san Manga Creator’s Death

Journalist Calls for More Mental Care After Sexy Tanaka-san Manga Creator’s Death

Journalist Calls for More Mental Care After Sexy Tanaka-san Manga Creator’s Death

by Danica Davidson
January 31, 2024

The recent death of manga creator Hinako Ashihara has sent shock waves through the Japanese entertainment industry, according to Japanese news source The Mainichi Shimbun. Ashihara had publicly criticized the live-action adaptation of her manga Sexy Tanaka-san, saying Nippon TV had failed to keep its promise to do a faithful adaptation. After this, Ashihara abruptly deleted her criticism, apologized, and then was reported missing and eventually found dead. While the investigation appears to be ongoing, early reports say the death was likely a suicide.

It’s not known if these events are connected, but many people are assuming they are. The Mainichi Shimbun spoke with Tomoko Hasegawa, a journalist who specializes in TV.

“It’s important to properly discuss how the original work will be changed while considering the artist’s intentions,” Hasegawa told the news outlet. Ashihara’s words give the appearance that not only was she disappointed in core parts of her story being altered, but she felt betrayed because she believed she and Nippon TV were all on the same page about not making changes.

Hasegawa also talked more about how the industry works. “The production of a drama show in Japan moves forward based on a proposal. When there is original work, such as a manga or novel (for the proposed show), it’s easier to get an approval within the network since those involved can have a clear view of the show’s tone and story.”

She noted that sometimes when a story is adapted, making changes can benefit it. This isn’t always the case, of course, so she recommended the production ought to try out “new ways of expression while involving the original author without insisting on the TV network’s theory of success.”

Hasegawa also pushed for better mental health treatment, remarking, “The TV production is extremely taxing. I think it’s important to spend more money on mental care for all the people involved in the drama production.”

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please know that there is help available. In America, you can call 1-800-273-8255. In Canada, you can call 1-833-456-4566. In Japan, you can call 03-5774-0992. For other countries, numbers and resources are available on this site.

Source: The Mainichi Shimbun


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.

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