OBITUARY | Manga artist Fujiko A Fujio of “Ninja Hattori-kun” fame

Manga artist Fujiko A. Fujio died on April 7. The famous artist is the author of Manga roads, a comedy series in which he recounts his days as an apprentice. He was 88 years old.

Manga roads (Shogakukan, series) is considered a bible for budding manga artists. And that made Tokiwaso, the apartment complex that appears in the manga, famous. The same apartment is recreated as the Tokiwaso Manga Museum in Minaminagasaki, Toshima-ku, Tokyo.

On the day of Fujiko’s death, locals and museum visitors were surprised by the sudden announcement and remembered his life, which was filled with countless famous works.

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Tokiwaso Manga Museum, a reproduction of the building where young Fujiko Fujio lived in the Toshima district. (Photo by Mitsuhiro Uno)

The “manga routes” framework

“This whole area was the setting for Manga Roads”, said Mikio Koide, chairman of Tokiwaso shopping street.

“The movement to restore Tokiwaso [district] actually started from Manga Roads. “This is very sad news,” he added, speaking with difficulty after hearing the news of Fujiko’s passing.

Koide, 63, was a leader of the movement to build the reconstruction of Tokiwaso in the area where it was originally located.

In Manga roads, Michio Maga, a character based on Fujiko himself, meets Shigeru Saino (based on Fujiko F. Fujio, who died in 1996). They move to Tokyo and move into Tokiwaso, where Osamu Tezuka also lives.

In real life, the duo lived in Tokiwaso from 1954 to 1961. They engaged in creative work in a friendly rivalry with the other mangakas who also resided there, such as Shotaro Ishinomori, Fujio Akatsuka, Hideko Mizuno and many others. ‘others.

The Tokiwaso building was demolished in 1982 due to deterioration. Manga roads returned to the limelight when the story was adapted into a television series on NHK in 1986.

Thanks to years of campaigning by locals, a museum faithfully replicating the living room and other rooms from that era opened in July 2020.

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Fujiko F. Fujio (left) and Fujiko A. Fujio when they were young in November 1965.

“The Walt Disney of Japan”

In October 2020, Fujiko visited the museum for the first time. “I was equally amazed and moved to see Tokiwaso reproduced,” the famous author was quoted as saying by sources at the time. “Memories of my 20s came flooding back to me and I almost cried.”

He revisited the museum in April 2021 to see the Tezuka retrospective and remembered how Tezuka had lent him the deposit money to move in. “It was thanks to him that I was able to move to Tokiwaso,” Fujiko said, adding, “He took care of me not only professionally but also in my personal life.

Koide mourned Fujiko’s sudden death, saying, “I wish I could have held a Fujiko A. Fujio retrospective at the Museum while he was still alive.”

On April 7, when the 88-year-old’s death was announced, manga artist Koichi Nagata, who lives nearby, also walked past the museum. “I heard the news while eating at Matsuba, a ramen restaurant where Tokiwaso locals used to eat,” the 47-year-old mangaka said, adding, “It shocked me.”

“I loved Ninja Hattori-kun when I was a child and The salesman who laughs When I grew up. He was still healthy, I thought,” Nagata continued on April 7. “He will be missed.

Nobuo Kishi, 70, who came to visit the museum from Kamagaya in Chiba Prefecture, said: “It’s sad, but it has given us so much joy since we were children. Even my kids and grandkids love it. He is like the Japanese Walt Disney.

(Read the report in Japanese on this link.)

Author: Mitsuhiro Uno

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