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Japanese Manga Artist Ashihara Hinako Passes at 50

Shortly before her death, the artist and author of ‘Sexy Tanaka-san’ was involved in a minor social media feud with Aizawa Tomoko, writer of the Nippon Television live-action adaptation of the work, with the artist claiming Tomoko was allowed to stray too far from the source material; fans now blame NTV for failing the deceased creative.

Ashihara Hinako, Japanese manga artist and author of “Sexy Tanaka-san,” has been found dead in her home near Tokyo. She was 50 years old. A cause of death has not been officially determined, although a note was found at the scene, according to Variety.

“Sexy Tanaka-san” follows a 40-year-old accountant who moonlights as a bellydancer. When a co-worker discovers her secret, the two opposites form a strong bond. A 10-part live-action adaptation of the manga starring Kinami Haruka began airing in October 2023 on Nippon Television, of which Hinako was a major critic.

Earlier in January, the author and artist trashed the NTV adaptation, stating on X and her personal blog that the show was not faithful to the source material. However, she quickly deleted the messages, and posted, “I didn’t mean to attack. I’m sorry,” on Sunday before being found deceased on Monday.

Drama sparked by the minor social media feud between Hinako and adaptation penner Aizawa Tomoko continues beyond the manga artist’s death. Some fans are calling Hinako too harsh a critic, while others have labeled Tomoko a “crusher of original works.” NTV is also blamed for Hinako’s death, with a post on X stating the company’s statement was inadequate.

Hinako’s family issued a brief statement through Shogakukan on Wednesday. “We have lost our beloved family member and are in a state of bewilderment,” it said, then explaining that media requests for comment would not be accepted. NTV has not been reached for comment.

Laurén Alexa's picture

Cybersecurity specialist by day, investigative journalist by night.