Japanese manga artist Hinako Ashihara has been found dead in apparent suicide. Ashihara, aged 50, was first reported missing by a relative on January 28. According to a report from Nippon News Network (NNN), police from the Osaki Police Station found her body alongside a suicide note.
In the days leading up the discovery, Hinako Ashihara shown dissatisfaction to the live adaptation of her manga series Sexy Tanaka-san. In her now-deleted blog post from January 26, she stated how she wanted for the adaptation to be truly faithful to the source material. And while the previous seven episodes had certain elements that bore similarity to the manga, she notes how there are “core” stories from the manga were cut or not depicted properly, and characterizations were changed. Despite all of this, she was not given a satisfactory reason from the production team why this happened.
She further added that she ended up writing the scripts for the last two episodes due to significant changes in the live action’s storyline, yet apologized that she had to rush the script as an amateur scriptwriter, and could not refine it further, as she was also working on deadlines for the manga. She concluded her blog post by thanking all the cast and staff for making the live-action adaptation.
She later deleted the blog post as well as the corresponding responses on her official X (Twitter) account, with the tweet translating as “I didn’t mean to attack. I’m sorry” posted then on January 28, the day she went missing.
Nippon TV, which aired the live adaptation of Sexy Tanaka-san, released a statement on its official website expressing their sadness over Ashihara’s passing and offering condolences to her family and friends.
We were saddened to hear of the passing of Ms. Hinako Ashihara [and] we would like to express our deepest condolences to her family and friends. Regarding the Sunday drama “Sexy Tanaka-san” for the October 2023, NTV, through its agent Shogakukan, has been in discussions with Ms. Ashihara, the author of the original story, in order to propose a film adaptation of the story, and has been working with her on the script. NTV has been discussing the script production process with Ms. Ashihara, the author of the original story, through Shogakukan, the agent of the original story, and has finally obtained her approval for the script, which is now being broadcast. We are grateful to Ms. Ashihara for her efforts in the production of this work.
Statement from Nippon TV (Official Website, ACN Edit)
Aside from Sexy Tanaka-san series which has been serialized in Shogakukan’s Anekei Petit Comic since 2018, Ashihara also wrote other manga including Forbidden Dance (1997), Derby Queen (1999), Sand Chronicles (2003), Butterfly Cloud (2006), Piece: Kanojo no Kioku (2008), and Bread & Butter (2013).
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts or going through a crisis, know that it’s okay to ask for help. Dial your country-specific hotline, which can be found here and seek immediate help.