Award-winning manga artist Shinji Mizushima died of pneumonia on January 10 in a Tokyo hospital, reports NNA News. He was 82 years old.
During his lifetime, Mizushima published over 500 tankobon volumes, making him one of the most prolific manga artists of all time. He was a giant of the manga world and his passing is national news in Japan.
Born in Niigata in 1939, Mizushima debuted as a manga artist in 1958 at the age of 18 and retired in December 2020. “I have worked hard for 63 years until today. , but now I’ve decided to retire,” he said (passing by ANN). “I pray from the bottom of my heart for continued growth in the worlds of manga and baseball.”
His latest manga was published in August 2018.
Mizushima was best known for his baseball manga, such as Dokaben, Yakyu-kyo no Uta, and Abu-san, for which he first gained fame in the 1970s. His manga would chronicle events in the world of Japanese baseball, mixing characters he created with real players and coaches.
Abu-san, which ran from 1973 to 2014, follows the exploits of fictional baseball player Yasutake Kageura. It won the Shogakukan Manga Award in 1977 and the series has sold over 22 million copies. Dokaben, which ran from 1972 to 1981, was released in a total of 205 tankobon volumes – which is the highest number of volumes for a series. Dokaben was a high school baseball manga, but the characters lived on in spin-offs that followed their amateur and professional careers. Yakyu-kyo no Uta, which took place from 1972 to 1976, told the story of a young woman who planned to become a veterinarian, but ended up becoming a baseball player. The manga won the Kodansha Literature Culture Award for children’s manga and has been adapted into an anime series, anime film, live-action film, and live-action television series.
(Full disclosure: Kodansha published my first two books.)
Like ANN notes, Mizushima received the Order of the Rising Sun Gold Rays with Rosette award for his contributions to entertainment and culture from the Japanese government in 2014.
As Mizushima had requested, his family held a private funeral. May he rest in peace.