Photo/IllutrationA lost artwork from the “Ai to Makoto” manga series was purchased at 4 million yen on an online auction site. (Captured from the website)

An original manga artwork that went missing more than 40 years ago has resurfaced on an online auction site, prompting the publisher to ask fans not to bid on similar drawings.

The item is one of 15 original "Ai to Makoto" (Love and Truth) artworks that were not returned after being loaned out in the 1970s.

The colored artwork was bought at 4 million yen ($36,577) on May 6 on the auction site operated by leading secondhand manga store Mandarake. It had been posted on April 20.

As there are still other missing original artworks, the publisher, Kodansha Ltd., announced on its website on May 10, “When you find original drawings, please report them to us without purchasing them.”

“Ai to Makoto” was a popular pure love manga series written by Ikki Kajiwara and drawn by Takumi Nagayasu. The manga, which ran in the Shukan Shonen Magazine weekly comic anthology between 1973 and 1976, has been made into live-action TV series and films.

According to the magazine's editorial department, 10 color and five black-and-white artworks went missing around 1974 while on loan to TV stations and record companies. At that time, the publisher reported the case to police.

The manga was an unusual one for Kajiwara, who is better known for his sports works, such as the "Tiger Mask" pro wrestling series and "Ashita no Joe" boxing series.