Infamous Manga Pirate Earns Hefty Sentence in Japan

The manga industry has been plagued by piracy for years now, and publishers have gathered to combat the phenomenon in recent years. Big companies like Shueisha and Kodansha have pooled resources with a good few publishers to hold pirates responsible for their seedy decisions. And now, one of the most prominent pirates in Japan has been given a hefty sentence in court for their work at Mangamura.

The update comes from the Fukuoka District Court as the body declared Romi Hoshino guilty of copyright infringement and hiding criminal proceeds. The pirate, who is known better online as Zakay Romi, is said to be the primary admin for Mangamura before the site was shuttered by lawsuits.

My Hero Academia Manga
(Photo: Shueisha)

According to the court order, Romi was sentenced to three years in jail, and he will have to pay two fines. The first demands Romi pay over $90,000 USD before forking over $565,000 in a different stipulation. This latter was set forth after the legal case uncovered Romi's finances from Mangamura which he allegedly placed in an overseas bank account.

For those unfamiliar with Romi, he helped ring Mangamura to life back in 2016. Japanese authorities confirmed they were working on a case against Mangamura in mid-2018. The case was escalated when Japanese officials asked for Internet providers to block access to the piracy site along with others like it. At this time, Hoshino lived in the Philippines where he was arrested before being extradited to Japan. Other administrators of the site were arrested alongside Hoshino.

While those who consume pirated manga might not think it is a big deal, the industry impacts the least wealth in publishing before out does anyone else. A report suggests Mangamura caused nearly $3 billion of damage to publishers and copyright holders. While this isn't ideal for the creators themselves, their teams and their publisher's ground-level employees are the ones who see their jobs cut in light of these losses. And now, Hoshino will have plenty of time in prison to reflect on what his work did.


What do you make of this case's sentence? What do you make of the manga industry's troubles with piracy? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.