While Japanese manga aimed at adults are notorious for often having dark, troubling subject matter, a more prosaic food-themed manga has stirred up quite a bit of controversy after one of its main characters was sickened following a visit to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The local government of Futaba, one of the towns near where the stricken real-life Fukushima Daiichi facility is located, lodged an official complaint with the manga’s publisher after the main character in the manga “Oishinbo” (a portmanteau of the Japanese word for delicious and the word for someone who loves to eat) was shown to be bleeding from his nose right after the trip.
“This will inflict baseless damage on all of Fukushima Prefecture, undermining its efforts to recover,” a statement from the Futaba municipal government posted on Wednesday showed. It also warned that the long-running weekly manga’s depiction of someone being sickened after visiting the plant could lead to greater discrimination against people living in the town and the prefecture.
The Ministry of Environment also weighed in on Thursday, posting a statement on its website saying it is very unlikely that radiation from the plant is causing residents to bleed from the nose.
This article does not refer to former Futaba township mayor Katsutaka Idogawa’s statement that he has heard many stories of nosebleeds, that he himself suffers from recurrent nosebleeds, especially severe in the mornings, and he wonders how the Environment Minister is in any position to be commenting on his (Idogawa’s) health.