This week, Japan lost a legend. Nikkei Asia reports that famed manga creator Fujiko A. Fujio died on Thursday morning at his home in Tokyo’s Kawasaki. He was 88.
Fujiko A. Fujio, whose real name was Motoo Abiko, was part of a manga artist duo with Hiroshi Fujimoto, aka Fujiko F. Fujio. Together they were known as Fujiko Fujio, and were the manga world’s equivalent of Lennon–McCartney. Childhood friends, the two formed a collaborative partnership in 1951 and went on to create some of Japan’s most iconic manga, which were later adapted into beloved anime that are still watched today. Fujiko F. Fujio, who passed away in 1996, is credited with being the driving force behind Doraemon, which is often referred to as the Mickey Mouse of Japan. Their creative partnership was dissolved in 1987.
In 2008, the Japanese government awarded Fujiko A. Fujio with the Order of the Rising Sun, which is one of the country’s highest honors.
Fujiko A. Fujio created numerous beloved manga, including Ninja Hattori-kun and The Laughing Salesman. Ninja Hattori-kun, which follows the adventures of a boy who befriends a ninja kid, debuted as a manga in 1964 and as an anime in 1981. As Nikkei Asia notes, The Laughing Salesman is about a salesman who aims to “fill the emptiness in people’s souls,” but his offers typically come at a price to those who don’t follow his instructions exactly. The Laughing Salesman is much darker than Fujiko F. Fujio’s kid-friendly Doraemon, and shows how the duo’s artistic temperaments differed.
Even in his later years, Fujiko A. Fujio remained active. His final serialized manga, Parman no Jounetsu-teki na Hibi (Parman’s Intense Daily Life), was a memoir that launched in 2007 and went on hiatus in 2015.
Fujiko A. Fujio was one of Japan’s truly great manga creators. May he rest in peace.