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Sci-Fi Author/Anime Staffer Takumi Shibano Passes Away

posted on 2010-01-17 14:16 EST
Researcher on Gatchaman/Tekkaman; founder of Japan's 1st sci-fi fan mag

Science-fiction author, translator, magazine editor, and anime "science-fiction researcher" Takumi Shibano passed away due to pneumonia on Saturday, January 16. He was 83.

Shibano was born on October 27, 1926 in the central Japanese prefecture of Ishikawa. He co-founded and edited Uchūjin (literally, "Cosmic Dust"), Japan's first science-fiction fan magazine, in 1957. Many science-fiction authors, translators, and critics such as Shinichi Hoshi (Kimagure Robot) and Sakyo Komatsu (Phoenix 2772 - Space Firebird) made their debut within the pages of this magazine. Even though it went from being a monthly magazine to an irregularly scheduled one after its first 15 years, Uchūjin shipped its 202nd issue last spring. As Shibano edited the magazine, he continued his day job as a high school mathematics teacher until 1977.

That year, Shibano began a prolific career as a science-fiction novel translator under the pen name of Rei Kozumi (a wordplay on "Cosmic Ray"). Among the novels he translated were E.E. Smith's Lensman series, Hal Clement's Needle, and Larry Niven's Ringworld. Not coincidentally, many of the novels he translated inspired both anime and manga. He authored three children's novels of his own from 1969 to 1977.

Shibano himself branched into anime when he consulted with Tatsunoko Productions on a number of science-fiction classics. Many Tatsunoko anime such as Tekkaman, Gatchaman F, and Casshan listed "SF Kōshō: Kozumi Rei" (Science-Fiction Researcher: Rei Kozumi) in their opening credits.

Shibano traveled to San Francisco's BayCon 1968 convention, to most Worldcons after 1979, and to conventions in Vancouver, Moscow, Budapest, San Marino, and Chengdu. At L.A.con III (the 54th Worldcon) in Los Angeles in 1996, he was a Guest of Honor.

Sources: Akira Sahara, Tokyo Sogensha, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of Japan


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