Award-Winning Manga Creator Jiro Taniguchi Passes Away at 69
posted on by Egan Loo
Jiro Taniguchi, the creator of such manga as The Times of Botchan and Kodoku no Gourmet, passed away on Saturday. He was 69. His family is planning a private funeral service.
Taniguchi was born in Tottori City in western Japan in 1947. After working at a Western clothing wholesaler in Kyoto, he moved to Tokyo to pursue his aspirations of becoming a manga creator. At the age of 24, he made his debut with the manga Kareta Heya, and developed his signature style of fine line art and shading without ink. He published many works for grown-up readers, depicting the everyday lives of ordinary people.
The Times of Botchan, Taniguchi and writer Natsuo Sekikawa's fictionalized account of real-life Botchan author Soseki Natsume, earned the Japan Cartoonists Association Awards' Excellence Award and the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prizes' top honor. Taniguchi and story creator Masayuki Kusumi also published the Kodoku no Gourmet manga about a solitary salesman named Gorō Inagashira as he travels all over Japan and samples the local cuisine found on street corners. This manga inspired a popular live-action television series that just revealed a sixth season last month.
Overseas, Taniguchi's works received an Ignatz Award nomination in 2010 and several Eisner Award nominations from 2007 to 2010. Taniguchi himself was "knighted" as a chevalier in France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2011. Taniguchi's admirers include acclaimed film director Guillermo del Toro, and Taniguchi collaborated with another award-winning artist, Moebius, on the manga Icaro (Icare).
Taniguchi's manga with overseas editions include Guardians of the Louvre (Les Gardiens du Louvre), The Summit of the Gods (inspiration for a Japanese live-action film and a planned French CG film), A Distant Neighborhood (made into a live-action European film), The Walking Man, A Zoo in Winter, The Ice Wanderer, The Quest for the Missing Girl, Samurai Legend, Hotel Harbour View, and Benkei in New York.