Woman allegedly harassed Ikuhara, claiming anime director plagiarized her work and demanded apology
The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper reported on Monday that Revolutionary Girl Utena and Penguindrum director Kunihiko Ikuhara faced claims on social media from an unknown woman who alleged that he had plagiarized her work. Ikuhara has denied the allegations and filed a lawsuit against the woman, with the court scheduled to deliver a verdict on December 13.
According to the report, the woman, who described herself as a voice actress and illustrator, sent a Twitter direct message (DM) to Ikuhara in April 2022, claiming that he had plagiarized one of her works. Later, when Ikuhara’s bandmate and anime industry colleague posted an illustration from an anime that Ikuhara had worked on, the woman posted that it was a trace of her work. Ikuhara claims that the two illustrations have no similarity.
The woman then allegedly continued to escalate her actions, e-mailing publishers, record companies, anime production companies, and talent agencies that Ikuhara had worked with, demanding that he apologize to her. Ikuhara reported the matter to the police, who began sending patrols to his home twice a day, and who urged the cancellation of one of his band’s concerts for security reasons.
Ikuhara filed a lawsuit in the Tokyo District Court Tachikawa Branch against the woman in June 2022, initially seeking 3.3 million yen (about US$22,000) in damages, and later increasing it to 4.4 million yen (about US$29,400). Ikuhara said that he sought legal action to compensate damage done to his works, and as a means to prevent further harm to his colleagues.
Ikuhara stated in court on August 30 that many of his colleagues were paying keen attention to the outcome of the trial, and noted that many similar harassment incidents were occurring within the industry. Mainichi Shimbun’s report references the Kyoto Animation arson tragedy of July 2019, in which the alleged perpetrator stated he committed the arson because he accused Kyoto Animation of allegedly plagiarizing his work.
The woman reiterated her claims of plagiarism in court on October 4.
Ikuhara adopted the moniker “Bonsoir Ikuhara” as part of a music project with previous collaborators Bonjour Suzuki (Yuri Kuma Arashi opening theme) and Elise Shōjoshiki indie band member Teiko (Sarazanmai‘s Sara Azuma) to form the group Teiko BonBon. Ikuhara is serving as the group’s music producer, Teiko performs the vocals, and Suzuki directs the music. The group’s first album Kimi no Seishun wa Kagayaite Iru ka released in June 2022, the same month that Ikuhara filed the lawsuit.