‘I’m Very Angry’: George Morikawa Calls Out Hajime No Ippo’s Fake Illustration In Fan Collection [Updated]

Hajime No Ippo mangaka, George Morikawa, recently expressed concern regarding the authenticity of an illustration found in a fan collection on his Twitter account.

George Morikawa hajime no ippo

Morikawa had received a post from an overseas fan showcasing their Hajime no Ippo collection. While appreciating the fan’s dedication, he noticed a colour illustration at the centre of the collection that was not created by him.

He also noted that the illustration had the creator’s name signed on it, suggesting that it may have been acquired by the fan for a fee. This discovery angered the mangaka very much and expressed concern on the growing problem of fake signatures appearing in online auctions.

I don’t know if this applies overseas, but I want to say this. Hey, if you’re a Japanese artist, you should follow the rules,” he added.

In order to protect the privacy of the fan who shared their collection, Morikawa refrained from sharing the photo of the artwork.

However, he recognized the creator of the illustration as someone who was in charge of key animation of Hajime No Ippo anime due to its high quality.

Morikawa also pointed out that the artwork in question dates back to the 2010s, and there’s a possibility that the artist may have worked on several other series, including Hajime no Ippo since then.

He also warned those involved to stop such practices.

Checkout a translation of George Morikawa’s tweet below:

I received a post from a foreign fan showing off their collection of Hajime no Ippo. I was very grateful to see it, but the color illustration in the center was not drawn by me. I can identify the person who drew it because his name is signed. It is also possible that they gave [the illustration] away for a fee, and I am very angry. In recent years, fake signatures have been circulating on auctions, and this could lead to an increase in such crimes. I don’t know if this applies overseas, but I want to say this.
Hey, if you’re a Japanese artist, you should follow the rules.

I will not publish the photo because it belongs to the other party. The illustration was also drawn by someone who was in charge of the key animation for my anime, so the quality is certainly high. However, it is from the 2010s, so there is a possibility that they have done multiple things, including Hajime no Ippo, up to now. You should stop doing this.

Morikawa apparently received backlash from certain sections for the comments he made, as some misinterpreted what he wrote.

The author revealed that a certain person in the animation industry pointed out that his comments were taken as an attack on the animation industry as a whole.

However, Morikawa clarified that he was an industry lover, and that his statement was only targeted towards one particular person.

One person involved in the animation industry pointed out to me that I was being very aggressive, and that it could be taken as an attack on the animation industry. I did not. I am sorry if I have demoralized those involved. I am an animation lover and respect the skills of the production staff.

*My statement was directed at an individual, not you.
And a warning bell for the rampant crime of fake colored paper at auctions, etc.

Morikawa’s tweet

The author once again clarified that he stood behind his statements, saying that he was not trying to divide anime and manga even though he was in the middle of a “petty flame war”.

He once again reiterated that he respected animators, and this time he gave an account of his mother, who worked as a cel painter to support the household.

I can say this now, but my mother, who is currently bedridden, worked part-time painting cels for anime to support the household when I was a child. I used to help her a lot, because sometimes she would damage her eyes using tracing boards, and even back then I could [paint without smudging] more than her. I thought that my favorite anime could reach us through the accumulation of hard work.

I will never forget the sight of my mother doing it for a single-digit yen per sheet. I don’t need to be understood, but I respect animators.

Morikawa’s tweet

Morikawa further stated that if any staff who worked on the Hajime no Ippo anime felt angry at what he said, they were free to DM him.

If you ask me how grateful I am, how much I love anime, and what I can’t say outwardly, I’ll explain it to you.
Don’t go anywhere else, come to me for everything
,” the author said.

Hajime no Ippo is a Japanese boxing-themed manga series written and illustrated by George Morikawa. It has been serialized by Kodansha in the shonen manga magazine Weekly Shonen Magazine since October 1989, with its chapters collected into 138 tankobon volumes as of July 2023.

A 76-episode anime adaptation produced by Madhouse aired on Nippon TV from October 2000 to March 2002. A television film and an original video animation (OVA) were released in 2003. A second series titled Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger aired from January to June 2009. A third series Hajime no Ippo: Rising aired from October 2013 to March 2014.

Source: Twitter