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Sci-fi Novelist Hiroshi Yamamoto Dies at 68

posted on by Joanna Cayanan
Yamamoto's works include Project Piano, The Stories of Ibis, MM9 novels

Image via Hiroshi Yamamoto's X/Twitter account
The official website of publisher Tokyo Sogensha announced on Thursday that sci-fi novelist Hiroshi Yamamoto died on March 29 due to aspiration pneumonia. He was 68.

Yamamoto's daughter also posted an announcement on his X (formerly Twitter) account on Thursday. According to Yamamoto's daughter, a funeral was held with close relatives, in accordance with Yamamoto's wish, and the family will decline condolence messages and offerings. Yamamoto's daughter also expressed gratitude to all the people who have supported her father and their family.

Yamamoto revealed in an afterword in the new edition of his Project Piano novel in March 2020 that he had been suffering from cerebral infarction since 2018. In the afterword, Yamamoto enjoined readers to treat the novel as his "last will and testament" as a "hard sci-fi writer." He also wrote about his love for sci-fi stories in the afterword, but also lamented that his deteriorating mental state meant that he was no longer confident in his ability to write such stories, including such novels as Project Piano.

In August 2020, Yamamoto posted tweets that hinted at suicide. He later confirmed that he was safe, after he had been contacted by emergency services in Japan. A later post prefaced as written by someone other than Yamamoto on his account explained that he had been melancholic due to the COVID-19 pandemic lessening the opportunities to go outside. Yamamoto acknowledged that he had considered suicide, but talking to his wife and daughter changed his mind. He also thanked his friends and people who sent him encouraging messages.

Yamamoto was part of Group SNE, the cadre of creators that developed the Record of Lodoss War franchise; Yamamoto personally played the iconic character Deedlit in the fantasy role-playing game sessions that formed the core original story of the franchise.

Viz Media published Yamamoto's science-fiction novels The Stories of Ibis and MM9 in 2010 and 2012. His other works include Kyonen wa Ii Toshi ni Naru Darō and Kami wa Chinmoku Sezu. He won a Seiun Award in 2011 and 2016.

Sources: Tokyo Sogensha's website, Hiroshi Yamamoto's X/Twitter account via Hachima Kiko

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