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Sep 1st, 2012
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  1. A summary of the "Kokoro Connect Prank Incident"
  2. Last updated 31/08/2012
  3. -----------------------------
  5. Person at the centre: Mitsuhiro Ichiki (市来光弘) - Ichiki
  7. Before the Kokoro Connect anime began airing, a prank was being planned on an unsuspecting and aspiring voice actor that ended up being more of an abuse in power than a simple joke. The producer, who seemingly planned all this is called Yamanaka Takahiro, and works for King Records.
  9. Around 2 months before the anime began airing, there was an event held for fans that was hosted by 3 of the voice actors from the Kokoro Connect anime. They were Terashima Takuma, Mizushima Takahiro and Oogame Asuka. The event was also shown online via ustream for public viewing.
  11. Prior to this, Ichiki was called into an audition for the anime where he was told he would star as an anime original character. The producer had planned everything out in detail. He had other fake voice actors there also auditioning for the role, along with the various staff for the anime, like the director and sound producer. A hidden camera was placed in the auditioning room. Ichiki was shown fake dialogue and fake character design for his role, to make it seem more convincing. During the audition, Ichiki had to say various lines in different ways, the director insisting he say it with the loudest voice possible.
  13. Fast forward two months later at the publicity event, Ichiki was called on to stage. He was not called into any rehearsals or given a script for the event and was just told to arrive for a surprise announcement. He was lead to believe that his anime original character would be announced. As he appears on stage, he introduces himself and video displayed on stage. The video explains that the audition was fake and the role was made up, too. He's not starring in the anime.
  15. During the video, they play his audition with spliced and unusual questions edited to further embarrass Ichiki. This tape was all narrated by Terashima Takuma, one of the main voice actors of the anime, included lines mocking Ichiki, his audition, and his career. Instead auditioning for a prospective role, he's been given the job of "Publicity/Promotional Chief" and he is to go around Japan, promoting the anime at various events. Ichiki is given various tasks that he must meet, otherwise he will be forced to participate in "punishment games," one such punishment is to get the official Kokoro Connect Twitter account 30,000 or more followers.
  18. At a later date, on the 2nd episode of the Kokoro Connect radio show, Terashima is talking with another one of the voice actresses from the show; Kanemoto Hisako. Here is a snippet of their conversation:
  20. (K = Kanemoto, T = Terashima)
  22. Terashima: Publicity Chief Ichiki's prank was really exciting (lol)
  23. Kanemoto: I wanted to see it (lol)
  24. Terashima: That was probably a really historic moment.
  25. Kanemoto: I kept thinking about the event, wondering what Terashima, Takahiro, Kame-chan, were doing. Ichiki... Ichiki... he isn't in the anime (lol)
  26. Terashima: *laughs hard*
  27. Kanemoto: Oh so I heard he's the Publicity Chief
  28. Terashima: It was a prank shown live on niconico and ustream, but I also did the narration for the prank video clip. Ichiki didn't go to rehearsal and just came right in on the real thing.
  29. Kanemoto: Eeeh (lol)
  30. Terashima: (explains prank in detail)
  31. Kanemoto: Poor thing (lol)
  32. Terashima: It was a big impact, I didn't think seeing the moment a person crumbles would be so beautiful (lol) We used many people to pull it off, it's amazing right? (lol)
  33. Kanemoto: will Ichiki's character actually appear?
  34. Terashima: *laughs* How the hell would I know?!
  37. During the publicity and promotional campaign for the anime in Osaka, a video was posted on ustream of Ichiki along side Kanemoto. During this video, Ichiki is made to play a "punishment game" and the punishment is being electrocuted while reading off upcoming promotional events. During this video Kanemoto makes the following remarks:
  39. Kanemoto: You're really busy this summer! Isn't that great? Going from Kyuushu to Hokkaido (lol)
  40. Ichiki: As the Publicity Chief of this project, well after various things, I have to do it...
  41. Kanemoto: Wait, you "have" to do it? But didn't you want to do it? I mean what with that-
  42. Ichiki: No, didn't you see it?!
  43. Kanemoto: At the audition you yourself said "I want to do it!" so passionately, didn't you?
  44. Ichiki: [Turning away from her] How can you say that when you know exactly what happened?!
  46. A few moments later;
  47. Ichiki: The people I just cannot stand are Terashima Takuma and- (low frequency shock) ooowwww
  48. Kanemoto: (laughing) Chief! Chief, come back! (he fell to the side out of pain)
  51. On a more recent radio show, this is the conversation that flowed between Terashima and Kanemoto:
  53. Terashima: "I still want them (other Voice actors) to come here."
  54. Kanemoto: "Me too."
  55. Terashima: "I want to bring those who couldn't come."
  56. Kanemoto: "Yeah."
  57. Terashima: "Did't Daichuu-san and Toyosaki-san already came?"
  58. Kanemoto: "They haven't"
  59. Terashima: "I want them to come. The Publicity Chief doesn't need to, though. (laughs)"
  60. Kanemoto: "(laughs) I see him at many places. We meet a lot. That's why seeing him has lost it's "appeal". (laughs)" (Probably compared to the other guests)
  61. Terashima: "Appeal... (laughs)"
  62. Kanemoto: It's like, the first time I saw him (while he was doing the PR work) I thought "So this is the Publicity Chief, huh" (laughs)
  63. Terashima: "At first you're like "Do your best!", but then when you meet him (again, while he's doing PR stuff) all you can think is "Oh, I guess he's working hard then"
  64. Kanemoto: "Getting used to the things is scary." (laughs)
  65. Terashima: "This is bad, huh." (laughs)
  67. ---------
  69. All of the above events were mostly unknown until recently when people found a tweet by Kikuchi Hajime (from Eufonius) making fun of Momoi Haruko. Momoi tweeted about being happy that people were karaoke'ing her songs. This encouraged some people check his profile and other tweets, and they noticed a tweet from him about how easy it was to manipulate a certain "someone," because he thinks he can get by in the voice acting (VA) industry with hard work. That certain "someone" being Mitsuhiro Ichiki.
  71. As the 2ch investigation began, they started linking things together and found his appearance on a radio show with Tomokazu Sugita.
  73. Ichiki was a guest on Tomokazu Sugita's radio show that often discussed video games, or "anigera". A keen listener sent in a letter regarding Ichiki and the "prank." Sugita got curious and asked Ichiki to tell the entire story. While Sugita is usually very chatty and jovial, but during this entire story, Sugita was very quiet and patiently listened to it all. At the very end Sugita said, "If it were me I would remember the face of everyone there forever". Sugita is a very popular voice actor, among VAs he has the highest number of followers on Twitter.
  75. At a recent Namco Bandai Live webcast about video games, Sugita was a guest along side Terashima:
  77. >Sugita, after seating down, gets as far away from Terushima as possible.
  78. >He maintains his distance throughout the show.
  79. >Sugita does not glance at Terushima one bit during the show.
  80. >Terushima talks to Sugita but is ignored
  81. >While they're playing games, Sugita does not talk to him
  82. >Sugita: (Something about 00Gundam). Terushima laughs but is ignored
  83. >Sugita: (Something about signing). Again Terushima laughs but is ignored again.
  84. >Sugita: [BUSHUUU~~] Terushima: [At the end that's it? lol] Sugita: *Ignores Terushima*
  85. >Terushima does a body touch, Sugita completely ignores him.
  88. Ichiki also appeared on Asami Imai's video game talk show where she interviewed him and asked him about this "prank" too. At first she thought it was all a big joke and that he got the role in the end, but when Ichiki told her how he didn't get a role and was made to be the PR guy, she said that it was completely low of them and consoles him about it.
  90. -----------
  92. This was not the first time that Ichiki has fall victim to harassment. Two years ago, there was an event for the anime "Oniichan no Koto Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne!" which producer Yamanaka Takahiro, with VAs Kitamura Eri and Mitsuhiro Ichiki in attendance.
  96. Yamanaka suddenly announced that they're going to play audio recordings from the audition for this anime.
  97. Kitamura Eri and Mitsuhiro Ichiki reacted with surprise: "Hey, you didn't tell us you'd be doing that!"
  98. Yamanaka: "Well yeah, if I'd told you, you'd have said no! (laughs)"
  99. Ichiki: "The audition recording... I auditioned for the lead, but didn't get that. You're going to play the tape of me failing to get a part?"
  100. Yamanaka: "He fit better in a different part, so we gave him that one instead."
  101. (Ichiki got a minor role as one of the 'AGE Team' members.)
  103. Yamanaka played the recordings in front of the audience and often in auditions, VAs have to recite lines given by the producers. For Kitamura Eri, it was "But I haven't the doctor with onii-chan yet!". For Ichiki, it's "I just want to see a girl's naked body"
  105. These are not the kind of things you want to publicly broadcast into a busy shopping street in Tokyo, especially when you are there yourself as a guest. The Japanese are very conscious of their self image. One small stain can ruin their careers.
  107. ------------
  108. Misconceptions:
  109. ------------
  110. Yamanaka is not Yamakan.
  112. Yamanaka Takahiro is a producer at King Records, one of the people who planned the prank on Ichiki.
  114. Yamakan's full named is Yutaka Yamamoto, he has directed shows like Kannagi and Fractale.
  115. His comment regarding this incident was he finds it ironic that those who enjoy bullying people on the internet(2ch) are trying to defend someone being bullied.
  117. Kitamura Eri was not involved with the bullying, but some individuals on 4chan's /a/ took it to spam her Twitter with images of their penises with other hateful comments as someone spread false rumors that Kitamura was dating the producer and that hurting her would somehow hurt the producer.
  119. ----------
  120. Aftermath
  121. ----------
  123. Otaku of 2ch are quite angry about this incident and see this as an abuse of power that has gone too far, bullying is also a sensitive subject in Japan right now. This issue has also been seen as an example of "power harassment" or "pawahara" in Japanese culture.
  125. Recently, there was a case where a child got bullied so much, he committed suicide. The resulting investigation leading up to the suicide was covered up by the Government; it's only recently that this came to light and caused an uproar.
  127. The Otaku plan to boycott the purchase of Kokoro Connect related products. They have already posted many negative reviews on Amazon expressing their dissatisfaction with this incident.
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