In a surprising turn of events, Kunihiko Ikuhara, known for directing Sailor Moon and Revolutionary Girl Utena, has filed a lawsuit against a woman who accused him of plagiarising her work and went on to defame him along the way.
It all began when Ikuhara received a text on Twitter from an anonymous woman in April 2022, who identified herself as a voice actor and illustrator, claiming that her illustration had been used without permission in the director’s work, therefore, accusing him of plagiarism and copyright infringement.
The basis of her claim stemmed from an illustration of a character from Ikuhara’s anime, which was posted on his Twitter by his bandmate, after which the woman accused him of “tracing her artwork”.
However, Ikuhara paid no heed as he felt that their works didn’t have any resemblance whatsoever upon comparison, thereby choosing not to engage with her.
The director’s silence, on the other hand, infuriated her. She asserted that his lack of apology amounted to defamation and insult, which resulted in her sending numerous emails to Ikuhara’s employers, including a major publishing house, a record company, anime production companies, talent agencies, and illustrators collaborating with him.
Ikuhara then went on to report the matter to the police. Police officers began patrolling his residence twice daily. And in the wake of security concerns, a live performance by Ikuhara’s band was cancelled.
In June 2022, he filed a lawsuit at the Tokyo District Court Tachikawa Branch against the woman. He initially sought 3.3 million yen in compensation for the damage to his reputation and work caused by the false messages. Later, he increased his claim to 4.4 million yen, determined to prevent his industry peers from facing similar situations.
Through this lawsuit, Ikuhara aims to to put a stop to the trend of easily pointing blame at creators.
During a court session on Aug 30, 2023, he expressed that the outcome of the trial would be closely monitored by many of his colleagues.
“Harassment of creators continues to be rampant. I request a strict judgment,” he stated.
However, the woman reiterated her claim on Oct 4, 2023, during the trail stating “My work was used without permission, constituting defamation against me, the copyright holder“.
The verdict of the lawsuit is scheduled to be delivered on Dec 13, 2023.
Source: Mainichi Shimbun