Why My Hero Academia is banned in China, explained

My Hero Academia (Image via Studio Bones)
My Hero Academia (Image via Studio Bones)

My Hero Academia is a popular anime adaptation of a manga series of the same name. It is arguably one of the best new-generation animes that debuted in 2016 and has since garnered a global fanbase. The story is about a group of teenagers who want to be professional heroes in a world where the majority of people possess unique powers known as quirks.

My Hero Academia sets itself apart from other shows about heroes trying to save the world with the way its narrative is presented. The plot features memorable heroes as well as unforgettable villains. With its multidimensional approach, the series has never failed to explore both the heroes' and villains' sides of a story with a fictional approach.

An extensive number of negative characters and antagonists have been present in the anime, and some of their backstories and individuality have stolen the hearts of viewers throughout the years. While rare, there are also certain characters in the anime who are unlikable or rather hated by the fandom.

Although they have prominence in the plot, they lack an emotional connection with the fans. There is one such controversial character that single-handedly got the anime banned in China, as the name of the character resembles a terrifying war crime of the past.

My Hero Academia: A character's name that resembles a past war crime that got the anime banned in China

The controversy behind the real name of Dr. Daruma Ujiko

Dr. Daruma Ujiko (Image via Studio Bones)
Dr. Daruma Ujiko (Image via Studio Bones)

In season 6 of My Hero Academia, one of the characters that played a prominent role on the villain's side is Dr. Daruma Ujiko. His real name was revealed in chapter 259 of the manga which led to a controversy that got spread on the internet like wildfire.

Dr. Daruma Ujiko was initially named Maruta Shiga, which resembles a terrifying war crime that took place in the past. It has a dirty reference to human experimentation during World War II.

Fans found it really upsetting that the globally popular manga was glorifying the nasty war crimes committed by Japan during World War II. Maruta, the Japanese codeword for “log,” was a term used by the Imperial Japanese Army’s Unit 731 for test subjects during that time.

Dr. Daruma Ujiko (Image via Studio Bones)
Dr. Daruma Ujiko (Image via Studio Bones)

Moreover, Dr. Daruma Ujiko has been shown to be an insane scientist with immense intellect on the topic of quirks. He indulges in crazy experimentation on humans, alive or dead, to create an army of brainless slaves for his master.

How actively the name and character roles go hand in hand with the historical references was unavoidably triggering for a community that has faced the horrific past.

How the world reacted

attack on titan and my hero academia both being banned in China 😌

When the manga chapter 259 came out, it got backlashed by the audience for reminiscing about the past horrors. According to reports from Abacus News, the popular ongoing anime My Hero Academia got removed from China.

The manga and anime got removed from all the streaming platforms in China along with Bilibili and Tencent. According to reports from Abacus, removal from bilibili has been done in accordance with China's politics.

What does the creator have to say?

@horikoshiko Translation: Many have pointed out that the character name “Shiga Maruta” in this week’s Jump chapter has brought up recollections of acts done in the past. I did not intend for that name to be associated as such. I take this matter very seriously and will change the name.

The creator of My Hero Academia, Kohei Horikoshi, came out with his own statement about the outrage. He stated that he had no motive to offend anyone's feelings by bringing out past horrors and he never wanted to associate the character with it.

He further went on to promise the removal of the character's name and change it with a new one.

It has also been confirmed by Shonen Jump, the magazine partner of My Hero Academia, in an official statement that there was no intentional motive behind the naming of the character from the author or editorial department. They have also confirmed the implementation of a name change once the chapters are compiled in future volumes.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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