A3, Fire Force And Osomatsu San Actor Ren Ozawa Accused of Domestic Violence
Ren Ozawa most notably voices Kazunari Miyoshi in A3!, a popular bishonen mobile game with multiple anime and stage play adaptations.
Warning: This article contains descriptions of domestic abuse and suicide.
Yahoo Japan via Bunshun Online reported that popular Japanese actor Ren Ozawa (29) has been accused of domestic violence by his ex-girlfriend. Ren Ozawa is most notably the voice of Kazunari Miyoshi in famous mobile game and anime series A3.
Named “Girl A” in the reports to protect her identity, Ren Ozawa’s ex-girlfriend is younger than him and was 16 years old when they started dating. Girl A dated Ozawa for five years and suffered from his abuse for several. Mentally oppressed by Ozawa’s verbal and physical abuse, on November 28, Girl A, after writing a suicide note, attempted to take her own life in the apartment house where they once lived. She was saved by a friend who followed her.
In a notice published on December 14, Ren Ozawa’s agency explained all the accusations brought up by Bunshun have been verified after asking Ozawa himself. Seeing the gravity of the situation, the agency has immediately ended his contract. The Ren Ozawa official fan club will be shut down as well. The agency also presented its apologies to the victim and to the fans of Ren Ozawa. Lastly, the agency stated it will strive to guide its artists to prevent cases like this from ever happening.
Girl A’s relatives and friends collected her testimony and evidence, such as records of her LINE messages with Ren Ozawa and photos, and reported Ozawa on her behalf to Bunshun.
Note that what follows are very vivid descriptions of the abuse, translated from the testimony Bunshun published.
Seeing the incredibly huge A3 and Ren Ozawa fanbase, it is important to share the victim’s story to make her voice heard. Or else fans will still defend him.
Girl A’s friends and relatives started by explaining the first problem she faced was Ren Ozawa’s violent behavior during their intimate acts. But how she fell in love with him as he would otherwise act nice towards her. Ozawa promised her they would marry in the future, and they started living together in 2019 in Setagaya, Tokyo. However, while they were living together, Ren Ozawa would refuse to wear contraceptives, and Girl A became pregnant in 2019. Ozawa verbally abused her then, accusing her of cheating. Before visiting an obstetrician, Girl A told Ren Ozawa she would abort the fetus, because she didn’t want to damage his reputation as an actor with many female fans by revealing he was in a relationship.
Girl A’s relatives explained that as she discussed with the hospital staff, who expected her to get married soon and to come back next time with her boyfriend, and after seeing the ultrasound, she decided to stop the abortion. Coming back from the hospital, Girl A begged Ozawa, explaining she would break up with him to not bother him and raise the child alone. However, Ozawa started hitting her, specifically targeting her stomach, while shouting about how she needs to abort. Girl A ended up going through the abort operation in September 2019.
The family and friends furthermore explained that after that point, Girl A’s mental health gradually decreased, due to the remorse of aborting the child, but also due to the abuse from Ren Ozawa, which worsened. He would mentally abuse her by telling her to stop making him feel like he’s the one at fault, and started physically abusing her whenever they had the smallest argument. However, Girl A, caught in the manipulative and abusive relationship, couldn’t bring herself to break up with her first boyfriend. She managed to do so in August, after she felt particularly sick. While she first believed to be infected with Covid-19, she actually had an uterine disease related to her abortion operation. If she were to catch Covid-19 in this state, she would be in grave danger due to complications. However, Ren Ozawa showed absolutely no consideration for her, even in that situation. This is when she realized he didn’t care about her and when she decided to break up.
Girl’s A’s friend explained that starting the end of August 2020, she would talk to Ozawa about breaking up, but he would always react violently and hit her, sometimes on her face as well. On August 31, a neighbor also called the police after hearing Girl A getting abused. Moreover, when Girl A would defend herself even a little by scratching him, Ozawa would take pictures with his smartphone, saying it’s proof that he’s the one getting abused. After a while, Ozawa also started to act as if he’s sorry for her, apologizing and trying to get her sympathy.
In September, Girl A left the apartment. However, Ozawa kept trying to contact her, and managed to coerce her to keep visiting him. Her friends and relative explained that after five years of being in this abusive relationship, Girl A was scared of what Ozawa could do and couldn’t refuse. When they met again, Ozawa was scared of the truth being made public, and begged Girl A to not report him, saying he would step down from being an actor. Ozawa kept manipulating Girl A this way after they broke up, and even asked her to think up what kind of excuse he could tell his manager to cancel his acting gigs. Girl A also once consulted a friend and told her everything that happened. Ozawa noticed that and tried to take her smartphone by force. Her friend explained that at that time, he hit Girl A’s head and she suffered from a concussion and couldn’t move until the next day.
On November 28, 2020, Girl A was called by Ozawa at his house, promising to talk seriously about their relationship. When she got there, and entered with her spare key, he was absent. She called him, and he was out with friends, forgetting their appointment. When Girl A pointed out his horrible behavior on the phone, Ozawa ridiculed her and retorted with mental health related slurs. This abuse is what pushed her to try to take her life that day. She wrote a suicide note and almost died by suicide. Her friends noticed her behavior was strange, located her through her phone, and managed to save her.
Lastly, Yahoo and Bunshun, with the approval of the victim, published the suicide note she wrote. In it, she explained she didn’t want to die but was forcefully made pregnant and was forcefully made to abort, destroying her life as a woman. She blamed Ren Ozawa and apologized to her loved ones.
Ren Ozawa plays respectively the yellow Osomatsu and Arthur Boyle in the stage plays of Osomatsu san and Fire Force. Since October, he’s also appearing in a new TV Tokyo aired drama titled Kyouen NG. The drama follows the story of a fictional actor and actress who are never made to co-star together due to a certain urban legend. The final episode of Kyouen NG, which should have featured Ren Ozawa, was supposed to air on December 14 but was canceled due to these events.
Moreover, Ren Ozawa is most notably known worldwide among anime fans for voicing Kazunari Miyoshi in A3. Standing for Act! Addict! Actors!, the A3 franchise initially started with a mobile game that debuted in January 2017 and reached two million downloads only a month after its launch. A3 features four groups of male actors, each themed after a season, and players play the role of their producers and managers. A3 already got numerous anime and stage play adaptations. It’s one of the most popular franchises focused on 2D pretty boys released these past few years alongside Disney Twisted Wonderland or Hypnosis Mic.
A3 quickly became a sensation in Japan and later on in the world with a global version. The A3 Japanese official Twitter, Mankai Company, currently has over 500,000 followers.
As such, Ren Ozawa turning out to be an abuser is incredibly shocking for A3 fans and otaku in general, with many expressing their disgust on Twitter. The fact that A3 is such a big franchise with a huge fanbase makes it even more important to share the full story of the victim to be sure any support towards Ren Ozawa is put to an end. Most fans are already doing just that and are calling for Ren Ozawa to be judged for his crimes. Moreover, while most otaku tend to specifically separate the characters from the people voicing them, this separation is more and more blurry nowadays. With the popularity of media mix series such as A3: Series with both an anime/game and a stage play. This is commonly called 2.5D. Outaku-targeted content standing between the 2D characters and the “3D” real people who voice and act the characters. However, it’s important to note that in Ren Ozawa’s case, while he features in numerous anime stage plays, he didn’t appear in the A3 stage plays to act Kazunari Miyoshi. Another actor, Tomoru Akazawa is the one acting as Kazunari Miyoshi in the stage plays.
Since Ren Ozawa’s agency has already ended its contract with him, it’s likely all his stage play roles will be quickly recast. Liber Entertainment, the company behind A3, should soon publish a statement regarding Ozawa getting replaced as the voice of Kazunari Miyoshi.