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Yoshihiro Yonezawa Dies

posted on by Christopher Macdonald
Comic Market Chairman and Prolific Manga Critic Dead at age 53

On October 1st, 2006, Yoshihiro Yonezawa, the prolific manga critic and co-founder and president of the Comic Market (Comiket, the world's largest doujinshi marketplace event), died of Lung Cancer at age 53.

Born March 21st, 1953 in Kumamoto, he started getting involved in manga criticism while still in Meiji University. In 1975, while still a student at Meiji University, Yonezawa co-founded The Comic Market (Comiket), which has since grown into the largest doujinshi market event in the world. Originally a 1-day event, Summer Comiket 2006 featured doujinshi published by 35,000 publishing groups and attracted over 430 thousand attendees, over a 3-day period (August 11-13, 2006). In 1980 he assumed the role of president of The Comic Market.

The Comic Market has indicated that a new leadership is ready to preserve and maintain the core values of the Comic Market that Yonezawa helped establish.

Following the publication of "The History of Post War Manga Trilogy" in 1980, he devoted his efforts toward chronicling and reviewing trends of manga and how manga related to Japanese popular culture. His authorship of "Forbidden Books ~The Ichiro Jyo Collection" ["Hakkin Bon"] (a Besatsu Taiyo publication) in 1999 won him the Publishing Academy Award [Shuppan Gakkai Shou.] He won the Japan Children's Literature Academy's Academy Award [Nihon Jidou Bungaku Gakkai Gakkai Shou] with his "On Fujiko Fujio ~ The Formula of F and (A)".

Yonezawa was also a regular contributor to numerous publications and he often took part in numerous in-depth dialogues over issues regarding manga, doujinshi, and popular culture with a long list of prestigious figures. The following are some of the books he worked on: "The History of Post War Shoujo Manga," "The History of Post War Science Fiction Manga," "The History of Post War Comedic Manga," "The World of Collection B-Class American Memorabilia," "The History of Post War Baseball Manga," and "The Formalism of "Tears" As Depicted In Manga."

Yonezawa has been a guest at several North American anime conventions, including Anime America 1993, Katsucon 1995 and Yaoi-Con 2001, as well as Anime Expo Tokyo 2004.

Some of his articles, "Dojinshi as Otaku Expression: The State of Japanese fanzinedoms" and "The Tides of Dojinshi: A fanzine history", were translated into English and included in the guidebook for the Japanese Pavilion at the 9th International Architecture Exhibition ~ The Biennale of Venice.

He is survived by his wife, Eiko (also a Comiket co-founder) and children. Funeral services will take place September 6 and 7 at Azabu, Tokyo. See link provided below for more information.

Funeral arrangements web site (in Japanese): http://www.comiket.co.jp/info-c/C71/061001.html.

Profile of Mr. Yonezawa provided by the Comic Market (in Japanese): http://www.comiket.co.jp/info-c/C71/061001_profile.html.

Thank you to Dan Kanemitsu for contributing to this article.

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