Manga pulled after alleged Japanese cult backlash

The manga publisher Shueisha has removed A home life with God ~We children born into religion online in what may be a response to a fringe religious group in Japan. Mariko Kikuchi’s manga followed the stories of the religious upbringing of various children by her already faithful parents. After the manga’s fifth chapter was removed online for “offending a particular religion or group of believers” on February 10, the company removed the rest of its pages entirely on March 17.

“There were some places where the fact-checking and examination that the editorial department should have done at the production stage was insufficient,” Shueisha said in an official statement. “In response to that, as a result of repeated consultations with the author, we decided to end serialization.” While the statement does not mention any specific organization by name, one expert believes this may have been done to appease the notorious religious group, Happy Science.


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“Looking back over the last 1-2 years, even when there have been scandals involving religious groups, their names are not reported,” Yoshirō Fujikura, a researcher on fringe religious groups, told Smart Flash. “Multiple outlets have reported on Kikuchi’s case, but none have mentioned Happy Science by name.”

Happy Science has become infamous in Japan due to its beliefs and the actions of its political arm, the Happiness Realization Party. As COVID-19 cases rise in the country, the group has begun offering “spiritual vaccines” that they claim will protect against the virus. The group has denied Japanese atrocities such as the Nanking Massacre, as well as the Imperial Japanese Army taking comfort women. The Happiness Realization Party has advocated removing Article 9 of Japan’s constitution that renounces war while striving for nuclear deterrence as a primary military strategy.

Happy Science’s public relations department denied involvement in Shueisha’s decision to withdraw the manga. “The Kikuchi manga contains numerous factual inaccuracies and an unfair and negative portrayal of the faith and its teachings,” they told Smart Flash. “It also conflates the theme of children seeking independence from their parents with the theme of religious faith. Regarding the decision to remove it, we believe that Shueisha came to that conclusion through independent discussion.”

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The author of the series is concerned that the situation could put the artistic integrity of many storytellers at risk. “It’s becoming taboo to deal with religion,” he told Smart Flash. “I am strongly against altering a story according to what a religious group dictates. If it has become so inadmissible to represent religion as an issue, then freedom of expression has already been eroded to such an extent that it exists in name only.” .

While Kikuchi is still upset that the manga was removed online, she stated on Twitter that she was grateful that the editorial department went to great lengths to protect her in this matter. It is not known if A home life with God ~We children born into religion will be legally available in any other format at this time.

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Fonts: Smart Flash, Yomitai, anime news network

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