Osaka’s otaku sanctuary shaken after upskirt arrest

Shukan Jitsuwa June 7
Shukan Jitsuwa June 7
The area of Osaka known as Nipponbashi, a rough equivalent to Tokyo’s Akihabara district, offers tech fanatics the opportunity to browse shops offering electronics or erotic anime DVDs.

On May 12, however, a middle-aged school teacher was taken into custody by Osaka prefectural police for some extraordinary browsing — the interior of a woman’s skirt. Weekly tabloid Shukan Jitsuwa (June 7) reports that this arrest is putting the otaku oasis on alert.

Manabu Wakita, a 54-year-old middle-school teacher from Osaka prefecture, was apprehended by officers from the Naniwa Police Station for allegedly taking a photo of the underwear of a woman in her 20s with a pen-shaped camera inside the anime shop Animate Nipponbashi.

Wakita denies any wrongdoing. “I was simply patrolling the area to locate any kids who shouldn’t be here,” he is quoted as saying. But the shop claims otherwise, labeling him as an undesirable who simply wanders through the store without any intent of shopping.

“Most adults who enter this shop are either guardians on patrol or parents,” says a shop employee. “But we felt different about this guy.”

The teacher didn’t simply surrender to officers. “He took the SD card out of the camera and swallowed it after first biting it into pieces,” says a reporter who covers national news. “Law enforcement later collected it via a medical examination. So it seems this attempt at obfuscation ended in vain.”

A person associated with the school describes Wakita as a dedicated and passionate teacher, one who has written articles on educational methods.

Wakita also seems passionate about the art of upskirting as he was previously arrested for the crime, though he was not indicted.

Shukan Jitsuwa says the arrest is having an impact on shops frequented by fans. “Suddenly, we do not see any of these middle-aged men who are not part of the scene,” says a reporter for an otaku magazine.

Anime shops are becoming proactive and sharing information on troublemakers. The police are also said to be tightening patrols.

The owner of a game card shop suggests that these shady men seemingly have the same intent. “You hear about many incidents in which cosplay staff members or female customers receive unwanted touching or are followed and sexually attacked,” says the owner. “Perhaps the arrest will be a good thing in that it may offset such crimes.” (K.N.)

Source: “Nipponbashi anime-gai gosurorigyaru tosatsu jiken,” Shukan Jitsuwa (June 7, page 229)

Note: Brief extracts from Japanese vernacular media in the public domain that appear here were translated and summarized under the principle of “fair use.” Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of the translations. However, we are not responsible for the veracity of their contents. The activities of individuals described herein should not be construed as “typical” behavior of Japanese people nor reflect the intention to portray the country in a negative manner. Our sole aim is to provide examples of various types of reading matter enjoyed by Japanese.

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