Tatsuya Egawa, the outspoken creator of Golden Boy, appeared on the Otona no Yoru no Wide Show Barairo Dandy talk show. During the show, Egawa claimed that Tohru Fujisawa plagiarized Great Teacher Onizuka.
Egawa said that Fujisawa was once his understudy and recalled, “Fujisawa had come in as an industry spy. And so he heard so many different things. He listened thoroughly then went off somewhere after three days.”
Egawa then asserted that Fujisawa ripped-off Be Free! and stylized it as Great Teacher Onizuka. “That’s definitely a rip-off of my hit debut work Be Free!” According to Egawa, the two would meet again and Fujisawa would admit to plagiarizing Be Free!, with Egawa saying, “It’s fine because he was a disciple.”
Egawa’s Be Free! was published from 1984 to 1988. It follows Akira Sasanishiki, a womanizing high school math teacher who has a laidback approach to teaching and frequently goes against school policy. Akira is very popular with his students and bestows unconventional world knowledge to his class, but the other teachers despise Akira’s teacher style.
Fujisawa’s Great Teacher Onizuka was published from 1997 to 2002. It follows Eikichi Onizuka, a 22-year-old ex-gang member and a virgin. While looking up girls’ skirts at a mall, Onizuka notices an unattractive teacher going to a love hotel with an attractive high school student. Onizuka then gets an idea to become a teacher so he can surround himself with hot students…but he decides to try to become Japan’s greatest teacher and bestow world knowledge on his delinquent students while hitting on their moms.
For now, Egawa’s story is unconfirmed since there is no evidence of Fujisawa having plagiarized Be Free! Still, do you think Fujisawa could have plagiarized Be Free! into Great Teacher Onizuka?