|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
It's all worked out to plan in a way because, from the moment he was born and perhaps even earlier, the poor little boy was destined to have a devilish life - literally, according to Shukan Shincho (8/17-24).
The boy is Akuma, the Japanese word for "devil" and the name given to a child who caused a great fuss throughout Japan in the mid-'90s, embroiling even the Justice Minister into the fierce arguments that broke out over whether he could be named after the embodiment of evil.
Akuma, as we'll call the boy, is now a strapping young lad of 13 in his first year of junior high school, but he has sure had a devil of a time since he made headlines not long after his birth.
Back in July 1993, Akuma's father, then a 30-year-old hostess club operator in the Tokyo suburb of Akigawa, and his mother, a 22-year-old woman, made pen pushers across the country petrified when they registered his birth using the name "Akuma."
Akigawa City Hall officials initially accepted the application, but the Tokyo Legal Affairs Bureau rejected the name.
Akuma's dad filed a complaint against the bureau's decision and the spat went nationwide.
"Until Akuma's official name could be decided, he officially didn't exist for months.
The only alternatives the father would accept used different characters, but still referred to his boy as Akuma," a reporter who covered the case tells Shukan Shincho.
"The father was saying he planned to call his next children 'Teio (Emperor)' and 'Bakudan (Explosion).'"
Akuma eventually got a formal name and the topic that everybody had been talking about died down.
But that was when demons really started affecting the boy named after the Devil.
"He's irresponsible father couldn't keep his business afloat and went broke in 1994.
Two years later, his parents divorced," the hack says.
"Not long after that, the father was convicted of drug charges and sent to prison."
A relative of Akuma's picks up the story.
"After the divorce, the father was awarded custody of the boy, but the boy was left alone when his dad was sentenced to serve time.
At about the time he was about due to go to kindergarten, he was put into a Boy's Home," the family member tells Shukan Shincho.
"He was on the soccer team all through elementary and junior high school.
He's only small, but he's good enough to be captain. He wants to become a professional soccer player.
He spends his summer holidays with relatives and always goes back to the Boy's Home with a really good tan."
Akuma's dad has done his time, but has asked that his son remain in the Home because he doesn't have the money to look after him. His mother also remains off the scene.
"No kidding, huh? He's in the Boy's Home? I had no idea," she tells Shukan Shincho.
"I looked after him for a while when my ex-husband was arrested.
But all sorts of stuff went on and I had to give him up to the Home.
I thought my ex-husband's family was still looking after him.
I don't know what happened after that. I'm always praying that the boy is happy.
My ex-husband told me that when he turns 16, he would let me meet him if he wanted to see me.
Even if it's only once, I'd like to see what he looks like all grown up."
(By Ryann Connell)
August 15, 2006