Akira Miyashita, Yoshihiro Takahashi, and Tetsuo Hara were all made honorary police chiefs for the day for their contribution to Oiwa prefecture’s anti-fraud campaign, which seeks to raise awareness about telephone scams. The creators of Sakigake!! Otokojuku, Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin, and Fist of the North Star respectively all drew posters for the campaign, featuring some of their most iconic characters to be displayed around train stations and other public places. Truly, an honor indeed.
Getting all three of these legendary creators, who contributed so much to the various ‘Golden Ages’ of Weekly Shonen Jump, under one roof is no mean feat. This means we can overlook, for a second, the fact that none of them are actually from Oiwa: the only one born outside of Tokyo, in fact, is Takahashi, who was born in Akita.
Nevertheless, there were plenty of reasons for the creators to get involved in Oiwa’s anti-fraud campaign. Telephone fraud, known colloquially as ‘Oreore sagi (It’s me it’s me fraud),’ is still a massive problem in Japan, as scammers pretending to be relatives in distress target older citizens and retirees.
Akira Miyashita, in fact, has experience with this first hand: he says that one of the scammers called him and pretended to be one of his children “when they were still a student”. Tetsuo Hara, meanwhile, has taken the smart decision to “cut the line” for his home phone so that he doesn’t get them anymore. That’s certainly one way to do it.
If Akira Miyashita, Yoshihiro Takahashi, and Tetsuo Hara can help boost the profile of this Oiwa anti-fraud campaign – even by just a little bit – then so be it. Their appearance also marks a trend of more mangaka getting involved in public and civil campaigns: aside from Wana Girl mangaka Nobuhiro Midoriyama recently contributing a poster for one of the government’s latest environmentalist campaigns, we shouldn’t forget about Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi’s call for Japanese people to vote last year. But I doubt anyone will object to Oiwa’s anti-fraud campaign in quite the same way as Takahashi using Dark Magician to say “The current administration is betraying its own country!”