Love Hina manga author Ken Akamatsu, was elected to the House of Councillors, after winning a national election in Japan on July 10. He is the first-ever manga artist in Japanese history to win a national election, and the victory was met with congratulatory messages from all over the manga industry.
Ken Akamatsu himself tweeted right after finding out about the victory, promising not to betray his voters:
“Right after 8 pm, various news outlets reported I would be a projected winner in The House of Councillors’ ordinary election. The projected winner means the birth of the first manga artist to be a Diet member. I’m sure Japan will change! In order not to betray the voters who hoped for and cast ballots for me, and in order to live up to ‘the representative of all the people’, I will be working hard to fulfill my campaign promises.”
Ken Akamatsu first revealed on December 16, 2021, his intention to run for one of the two Houses of Japan which form the National Diet in the country: The House of Councillors, known as Sangiin in Japan. He ran as a candidate of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which officially announced candidates on December 22, revealing the manga artist made the list of members for proportional representation. The House of Councillors holds an election to select half of the members every three years, and members serve 6-year terms.
Ken Akamatsu’s core principle has been to protect the freedom of expression in Japan. In April 2022, UN Women issued a protest against The Nihon Keizai Shimbun’s commercial advertisement for Kiseki Himuro’s Tawawa on Monday published by Kodansha, stating that the company should revise the standard of advertisement. The protest is “a typical external pressure” and it “must be thoroughly protested to protect the freedom of expression,” Akamatsu stated in a tweeted at a time.
Akamatsu is a managing director of the Japan Cartoonists Association, for which manga-ka Tetsuya Chiba works as the chairperson. He joined “Hyogen no JIyu wo Mamoru-Kai”, a group founded in 2016 which aims to protect the freedom of expression, as the supreme advisor in 2021. Taro Yamada of the Liberal Democratic Party who won 2019’s House of Councillors election with 540k votes is the chairperson of the group.
The two have been working closely for years, and Yamada stood by Akamatsu for the election. In an interview with Bunshun, he revealed his concern that Yamada would be one of the few members who actively worked for the creator industry and it would be dangerous that the politician was alone in the party, which made Akamatsu think someone like Yamada should be there. Yamada has been making offers to Akamatsu to be the one for years, and as Akamatsu’s newest work UQ HOLDER! got close to ending, he accepted Yamada’s offer.
People in the manga industry celebrated Ken Akamatsu’s winning in the election. Yusuke Murata, the manga artist of One-Punch Man with the original story by ONE: Akamatsu-sensei won the election! My sincere congratulations.
Kenjiro Hata, the author of Tonikaku Kawaii manga: Akamatsu-sensei, congratulations on the projected winner!
Raiku Makoto, known for his work Zatch Bell! tweeted with a screenshot from NHK’s page: Ohhh! Really?! Does this mean he’s already sure to be elected?! Well, this is a page on NHK! Ken Akamatsu-sensei!! Congratulations!!
Hiroyuki who is running Girlfriend, Girlfriend quoted Ken Akamatsu’s tweet: Congratulations, Akamatsu-sensei!. A Town Where You Live manga author Koji Seo also congratulated the autor: Akamatsu-sensei, congratulations!, as well as Boarding School Juliet manga author Yosuke Kaneda: “Akamatsu-sensei, congratulations! That’s amazing~!” Arihred Yamamoto, the Rikekoi author tweeted saying how amazing it was to have a new politician with manga artist background: “Akamatsu-sensei is a projected winner! Congratulations! It’s huge that a politician was born with background of a manga artist.“
Akihito Tsukushi, the author of Made in Abyss, who looked up to Akamatsu when he was younger, also tweeted a heartfelt congratulations on winning the elections: “Akamatsu-sensei, congratulations! It’s really thanks to ‘freedom of expression’ that a child who was adding n*pples to Akamatsu-sensei’s compiled manga volumes grew up to be a manga-ka and has been still active. I sincerely hope you take care of yourself physically and mentally. I look forward to your great efforts.” (Note: the original tweet doesn’t have the censor.)
Illustrator Asanagi who is working with Mushoku Tensei author Rifujin na Magonote on Orc Eiyu Monogatari light novel: “Akamatsu-sensei, congratulations. I’m looking forward to him working for a world where [people can] draw illustrations freely.” Satoshi Mizukami, author of Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer, for which the anime adaptation is currently airing wrote: “I do feel fear of tweeting about politics, but I’m drinking and vote counting is a festival. Congratulations, Akamatsu-sensei.“
Ken Akamatsu is a well-known name in the manga industry. His manga Love Hina popularized the harem genre and had a total of 14 volumes in Kodansha’s Weekly Shonen Magazine from 1998 to 2001. The manga won the 25th Kodansha Manga Award in the Shonen category and has since surpassed more than 20 million copies in circulation. The action battle story Negima! Magister Negi Magi was his next work in 2003. It ended in 2012 in the same magazine with a total of 38 volumes. The manga-ka ran the sequel to the series, UQ Holder!, from August 2013 to June 2016; the series was moved to Kodansha’s Bessatsu Shonen Magazine in October 2016 and the story was concluded in February 2022 with a total of 28 volumes. The total of circulating copies of his works surpassed 50 million.
Updated, July 11: Ken Akamatsu updated his Twitter on July 11 after the final results of the election were made public. “It was truly a tough battle fighting for The House of Councillors’ election without a supporting organization. I received about 530 thousand votes in the end, which made me the top winner among all the parties’ candidates for proportional representation. All of this happened because of each and every one of you who have supported me. In order to live up to the expectations, I will be committed from today to fulfilling my campaign promises. Thank you very much.“
Source: Official Twitter
© Ken Akamatsu / Kodansha; Photos by author