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Police from Kyoto, Yamaguchi, Shizuoka, Mie, and Shimane Prefectures announced on Wednesday that they have arrested five Chinese nationals for translating dialogue from Japanese manga and games into Chinese for unauthorized distribution. According to the police, at least two admitted to the charges. The suspects, who range in age from 23 to 28, are allegedly part of a translating group that distributed Chinese-translated manga, anime, and other materials online.
Allegedly translated Kimi ni Todoke & Maid Sama! crossover manga, Yu-Gi-Oh! game, more.
Two of the five arrested were a 24-year-old female Nagoya University research student living in Nagoya and a 25-year-old female J. F. Oberlin University graduate student living in Sagamihara City. The Nagoya research student allegedly translated Yuki Ochimura ni Ojō-sama! (pictured above), Hiro Fujiwara‘s crossover manga between her Maid Sama! and Yuki wa Jigoku ni Ochiru no ka? series, from a monthly manga magazine from December 2016 to September 2017 without permission. (The manga ran in Hakusensha‘s LaLamagazine.)
The graduate student allegedly translated the dialogue of characters in a game based on the Yu-Gi-Oh! mangafrom January 2015 to January 2016. The Asahi Shimbunpaper lists the game as Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V Tag Force Special (pictured left).
The arrests are the first publicized ones for members of the translating group. Four of the suspects are voluntarily cooperating with the investigation, which aims to file charges for copyright infringement.
According to the police, the translating group is composed of volunteers online. The group’s promoter and described leader assembled members from online boards and other venues, and then assigned them to either translation or distribution. The two female suspects described above were responsible for translation. They allegedly posted on Weibo, the popular Chinese social media service roughly equivalent to Twitter, and the translated works could then be read and downloaded on other sites.
he police said that the group translated Japanese manga, games, and game magazines for public distribution on Chinese sites from January 2015 to January 2018. One of the cited titles is Karuho Shiina‘s Kimi ni Todoke – From Me to You manga.
The translating group members allegedly translated over 15,000 manga items without permission. The police’s joint investigation unit is looking into whether the two suspects above are involved in the translation of other works.
A 2013 inquiry by the Japanese government’s Agency for Cultural Affairs asserted that unauthorized distribution of Japanese anime, manga, and games on Chinese Internet sites led to a loss of 3.8 trillion yen (about US$35 billion).
Update: The Association of Copyright for Computer Software reports that one of the suspects, a 23-year-old female company worker from Niiza City in Saitama Prefecture, translated the 123rd and final Kimi ni Todoke – From Me to You manga chapter. Police from Kanagawa, Ishikawa, Gifu, and Shiga Prefectures also worked on the case.
The association reports that if convicted, the suspects face up to 10 years in prison, up to 10 million yen (about US$90,000) in fines, or both. The suspects could also face civil lawsuits with additional levies for damages and orders to delete files.