One of the biggest manga publishing company, Shuiesha just removed a manga series, after the alleged backlash that it received from a certain religious group.
“A Home Life With God, We Children Born Into Religion” is a manga written by Mariko Kikuchi. The manga series tells the story of different religion each chapter. The stories revolve around children who were born in a religious family, and had no choice in choosing their own faith. The author of the manga, Kikuchi draws these stories from her own experiences, and also by conducting interviews from those people who have left their religion.
The manga was launched in September 2022, and it was all going well for the series, until Shuiesha removed the 5th chapter on Feb 10, also apologizing to believers for offending a particular religion. On March 17, the editorial staff mentioned that they will remove all the manga chapters due to “insufficient fact checking”.
So, what religious group was behind all this? According to religious group researcher Yoshirō Fujikura, the situation directly points to Happy Science’s pressuring tactics. Happy Science group was founded in 1986 by the leader, Ryuho Okawa. The group goal is “to bring happiness to humanity by spreading the truth, and the only requirement to join this religious group is to be willing to contribute the same goal.
However, Happy Science group have denied to having any kind of influence on Shuiesha’s decision to remove the manga. Happy Science’s public relations department said:
Kikuchi’s manga contains numerous factual inaccuracies and an unfair, negative portrayal of the faith and its teachings. It also conflates the issue of children seeking independence from their parents with the issue of religious faith. Regarding the decision to remove it, we believe that Shueisha reached that conclusion through independent discussion.
The author, Kikuchi believes that it is now becoming a Taboo to discuss religion in any kind of fictional work. “It is becoming taboo to deal with religion, I am firmly against altering a story according to what a religious group dictates. If it is has become so impermissible to depict religion as a theme, then freedom of expression has already eroded to such a degree that it only exists in name.”
During the interview, Kikuchi told Flash that she was asked to change the drawing of institution depicted in the chapter 5 of the manga, however, later she was told to change the entire manga. The editor told her that interviewing a single person was not enough, but when she asked about how many interviews would be considered sufficient, she received no response. Kikuchi refused to change the whole manga, and instead asked to end the serialization of the manga.