TOKYO (TR) – The publisher of comic book weekly Shukan Young Magazine has issued an apology regarding its intended publication of an erotic image of a member of pop group AKB48.
Publisher Kodansha announced on January 11 that the issue of Young Magazine originally scheduled to hit newsstands the following day would be delayed. The problem was the suitability of including an image featuring a topless Tomomi Kasai being fondled from behind by a young boy.
In explaining the delay in publication, a message on the magazine’s site said, “The photo contains an inappropriate expression.”
On Thursday, Kodansha issued a press release that offered an apology for depriving its readership of the opportunity to enjoy the latest issue of Young Magazine. As to what led to the situation at hand, the publisher said, “Just before publication, our system of checks was insufficient.”
On December 17, Kasai announced at AKB48′s 2nd annual “Kohaku Takou Uta Gassen” event in Tokyo that she will “graduate” from the group to pursue a solo career. Her debut single, “Masaka,” was released nine days later.
The photo in question originally comprised the cover shot for the 21-year-old’s debut photo collection called “Tomo no Koto, Suki?” (Do You Like Tomo?), which is scheduled to be released (also by Kodansha) on February 4. A promotion for the book was supposed to appear in Young Magazine.
The controversial image has also been pulled from inclusion in the book, Kodansha said. The next issue of Young Magazine will be released on January 21. The delayed issue has been cancelled altogether.
According to site ITmedia (Jan. 17), the cancelled issue of Young Magazine is banned from inclusion on the Yahoo! Auctions site.
“In the future, we will endeavor to do our best to respect the freedom of speech of an author, writer, cartoonist, or photographer,” Kodansha said. “We are committed to working with more compliance measures in place as we continue to engage in our publishing activities.”