Two formal apologies were issued from both the creator of My Hero Academia, Kohei Horikoshi, and the publication that carries the manga, Weekly Shonen Jump. The apologies were published on Twitter in multiple languages on February 7th, 2020.
They prefaced the apologies by announcing that the formal statements are currently available over on the Shueisha website. It not only includes the four apologies they published on Twitter, but also an additional apology posted in Japanese.
— 少年ジャンプ編集部 (@jump_henshubu) February 7, 2020
Initially they announced that they would simply change the name of the character to something else on February 3rd, 2020, but Social Justice Warriors from China, Korea, and even the West, continued to pepper and harass Weekly Shonen Jump and Horikoshi for a formal statement and an apology for creating the character. And so both Weekly Shonen Jump and Horikoshi decided to bend the knee and apologize.
YouTuber Hero Hei did a video breakdown of the apologies, and warned viewers that this is the start of something terrible, because even if though some people are saying that they’re only bending the knee to the Chinese and Koreans, they’re still bending the knee and changing a character based on the offense taken by Chinese, Koreans, and culturally insensitive Westerners.
If you would like to read the statement yourself, Weekly Shonen Jump’s apology states…
“Regarding the character “Maruta Shiga”—which appeared in chapter 259 of My Hero Academia (Weekly Shonen Jump Issue 10, February 3rd, 2020), a large number of readers from China and other countries have pointed out that the name evokes memories of the tragic past. “Shiga” is part of another character’s name, and Maruta (kanji: round + fat) reflects the appearance of the character in question. Any apparent reference to historical events was wholly unintentional. Despite this, the character’s role as the doctor for the evil organization, combined with his name, ended up being hurtful to overseas readers in China and elsewhere.
The editorial department ought to have taken the time beforehand to put more thought into this. We did not, and for that, we are profoundly sorry.
“With all sincerity, we realize the gravity of this issue and will change the name both in the physical volume release and, as soon as possible, in the digital version of the chapter.
“So that this kind of issue does not occur again going forward, we intend to devote our energies towards deepening our understanding of a variety of historical and cultural matters. By being more intimately aware of the thoughts and feelings of those from all walks of life, we will deliver manga that can be loved by all.”
There was a second post just below Shonen Jump’s apology from Kohei Horikoshi, where he maintains brevity and gets right to the point, saying…
“By using the name “Maruta Shiga” in chapter 259 of My Hero Academia, I deeply offended a great number of readers. I am truly sorry about this. The character—with deep reverence and wanting to feel closer to the League of Villains’s former boss, All For One—decided to take part of All For One’s last name (Shigaraki) and make it his own (Shiga). I gave him the first name “Maruta” because he’s round and plump. Any other meaning is coincidental, and I had absolutely no intention of hurting so many readers, which I now know that I did. I apologize from the bottom of my heart.
“Going forward, I will do my utmost to make sure that this sort of thing never happens again.”
Fans are rightfully worried that this sets a precedent for a Japanese company folding to Twitter outrage. It doesn’t matter if it came from China, South Korea, or America, it’s the fact that the Twitter outrage netted the whiners and complainers a victory in the form of censorship and an apology, which is typically how things unfold with Western companies when SJWs take to social media to complain.
Others state that Weekly Shonen Jump and Horikoshi did right by the Chinese and South Koreans who were offended and that in order to maintain good relations this was just them doing the honorable thing.
I can tell you right now, the second group are peddling hogwash.
We’ve all seen this dog and pony show unfold before and the results are always the same. It starts small and then it escalates and escalates and escalates, until they’re demanding that furry munchkins with prosthetic limbs and bipolar disorder who happen to identify as trans lesbians become the lead characters in the manga.
(Thanks for the news tip AntiSJW)