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Fake import goods to Japan spike amid 'Demon Slayer' anime boom

This photo shows some of the counterfeit products that were suspended from import by Osaka Customs, at Osaka's Minato Ward on March 5, 2021. Many of them are related to the manga and anime series "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba." (Mainichi/Manami Sakakibara)

OSAKA -- Fake merchandise relating to the smash hit anime and manga series "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba" have contributed to a significant boost in the number of counterfeit goods suspended from import at Osaka Customs in 2020 for violating intellectual property law, the authorities have revealed,

    Among the fake items contributing to the rapid increase in suspensions and related to Demon Slayer, whose 2020 film adaptation smashed Japanese box office records, were DVDs, smartphone cases and character figures.

    In 2020, import suspensions were high with 6,343 confirmed instances, about 1.4 times higher than 2019. Broken down by items, DVDs including Demon Slayer titles were up about 19 times over the previous year. Demand was apparently fueled by people refraining from going out amid the coronavirus pandemic. Illegal stationery items were also about 1.8 times higher, while toys including figures grew about 1.5 times -- some 40% of them were Demon Slayer items.

    In addition, the introduction of fees for plastic bags at stores also led to a rise in import suspensions of reusable bags with character designs that violate copyright laws. Counterfeit baby sling imports also saw a large increase. Osaka Customs is urging people not to use such slings, saying, "They are dangerous to use because there are faults in the buckles."

    Meanwhile, in clamping down on imports due to customs law violations, Osaka Customs detected 97 cases of illicit drug smuggling -- 25% fewer than in 2019 -- and confiscated about 93 kilograms of substances -- 30% less than the previous year.

    (Japanese original by Manami Sakakibara, Osaka City News Department)

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