Bleach Manga Creator And A Fan's Dying Wish

[via Excite]
[via Excite]

Last year, Bleach creator Tite Kubo posted a photo of a letter. It was a fan’s dying wish.

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As My Game News Flash explains, when Kubo originally posted the image on Twitter, he asked fans if they knew anything about it. The letter was addressed to Kubo via his manga publisher, and it did not have a return name or address.

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The Bleach manga ended in 2016 after a 15-year run. On Twitter, Kubo recalled how the fan letters he’d received over the years offered him encouragement, and he has saved them all.

As he was battling his own physical ailments and wondering if he was really cut out to be a manga artist, Kubo got a letter without a return name or address.

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The letter was written by a bed-ridden child in the hospital. The boy said he only had a year and a half left to live.

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When he played video games or watched TV, the boy kept remembering being with his friends. He said he wanted to die, but he was to told to best live out what little time left he had.

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Trying to enjoy his remaining days, the boy started reading manga, but the one that stayed with him was Bleach. For the first time since he was hospitalized, the manga inspired him to think about tomorrow. According to the boy, Bleach changed his world and made him want to live again.

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The boy wrote that he would have this letter sent after his death, meaning that the young fan had already passed away.

The letter ended with the boy telling Kubo that he had one final request: “Please draw Bleach the way you want to right up until the end. That’s what I want to read.”

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Kubo then wrote in the above tweet: “I have a favor to ask of everyone.”

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He apologized for asking but said that he wanted to get in touch with the sender to express his gratitude. Kubo had no way of reaching out—he didn’t even know who sent the boy’s letter, let alone from where it was sent.

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Today, Kubo announced via Twitter that early last month, he was finally able to get in touch with the sender after he initially asked his Twitter followers for their help.

Originally, he thought the sender was a family member, but thanks to tips he received, he learned that it was a friend of the boy who was in the same hospital.

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Kubo thanked fans for helping him get in touch the best way he could: With a drawing.

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Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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DISCUSSION

Aside from tugging on the ol’ heartstrings (what? I’ve got something in my eye), stories like this serve as a reminder that art of all kinds has the power to touch the lives of those who consume it—but we should also remember that fans and their reactions can have a significant impact on the creators of that art as well. Nothing happens in a vacuum, and getting to see the full circle of interchange between author, work, and fan is illuminating.

It’s also nice to see a creator reaching out like this, even when the kid who wrote the letter had already passed on; hopefully the young reader found a measure of peace before his passing, and in whatever waits on the other side.