Anime And Manga Industry Members Mourn The Loss Of Leiji Matsumoto

As the news of Leiji Matsumoto’s passing became public on February 20th, tributes from manga and anime industry figures have poured in.

Leiji Matsumoto

It came to light today that the legendary manga and anime artist Leiji Matsumoto has passed away. He was 85 years old and suffered acute heart failure on February 13 while at a hospital in Tokyo.

Matsumoto’s creations served as an inspiration to generations of anime and manga fans as well as artists. He was behind the creation of series like Space Battleship Yamato, Queen Emeraldas, and Galaxy Express 999.

Following the news of his passing, several figures from the industry have come forward to pay tribute to Matsumoto-sensei on Twitter.

Trigun creator Yasuhiro Nightow expresses his gratitude

The mangaka Yasuhiro Nightow of Trigun took to Twitter to leave a heartfelt message at Leiji Matsumoto’s demise.

His tweet translates to:

“Matsumoto-sensei. I was drawn into the world of manga because of his work. My work abounds with the droplets of stars he gave to me. I am content with the knowledge that they have carried to the next generation. Tonight, I will be reading Wadachi and Daijunjo-kun. Thank you for all the hard work. And I express my gratitude from the bottom of my heart.”

Studio Leijisha, the artist’s own studio, remembers him

Leiji Matsumoto’s personal company, now led by his daughter, posted a statement as well.

An excerpt of this announcement reads:

A message from Leijisha:

On February 12, 2023, the manga artist Leiji Matsumoto departed from a city hospital on a journey to the sea of stars.

We are grateful to all the fans who have supported him.

Matsumoto always used to say: “You can meet again at a place that connects to the distant ring of time.”

We believe in those words and look forward to that day.

Matsumoto’s wife Miyako Maki thanks the fans

In 1961, Leiji Matsumoto had married Miyako Maki, a well-known mangaka and one of the first female mangakas in Japan. Currently, she is the representative director of Leijisha. She says in her statement that:

miyato maki

On February 12, 2023, the manga artist Leiji Matsumoto departed from a city hospital on a journey to the sea of stars. He was 85 years old. His immediate family has already held a private service.

I believe that he lived a happy life, allowing his thoughts to run free through the stories he drew as a manga creator. Matsumoto always used to say: “You can meet again at a place that connects to the distant ring of time.” I believe in those words and look forward to that day.

To all the fans who supported him, the people involved in delivering his works to the world, the government and organization people who have helped him, the manga creators who honed their skills alongside him in his youth, and to all the hospital staff who aided him in his journey—I extend my deepest gratitude. Thank you so much.

I apologize, but I must refuse all condolence gifts, flowers, and telegrams. I plan to accept flower offerings and telegrams at a farewell gathering, which will be held at a later date. Also, I cannot say yet when I can provide details about the farewell gathering.

Voice actress Masako Nozawa reminisces about Leiji Matsumoto

Masako Nozawa, who voiced one of the protagonists of Galaxy Express 999, Tetsuro Hoshino said:

“Matsumoto-sensei accompanied me on so many Galaxy Express 999 events around the country. He was friendly and a great talker. I remember like yesterday how delighted he was when he wore a train conductor uniform in Yamaguchi.

When we were recording for the film, he came to the studio and praised us, which made it very easy for us to act… He was a very kind-hearted person. Whenever we met, he would always say, “We ought to do something with 999.” I was looking forward to his company again, and it breaks my heart that this wish of mine will never be granted.”

Animator Hirotoshi Sano draws an illustration

Hitoroshi Sano who has worked on Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, and RahXephon tweeted the following illustration.

The illustration shows Matsumoto’s iconic characters Captain Harlock, Tetsuro Hoshino, and Maetel.

Discotek Media reflects on the creator’s endless works

Anime distributor Discotek Media also expressed their grief over Matsumoto’s passing.

Manga creator Ami Shibata cites Leiji Matsumoto as her inspiration

Ami Shibata, known worldwide for the manga Papuwa, took a trip down memory lane in her tweet. She posted a message that she received from Leiji Matsumoto when she was a rookie mangaka.

She says:

“When I was still a newcomer, I received a long message that was filled with sternness, kindness, and a lot of heart. It can also be a message to every aspiring manga creator, so I have decided to post it. Matsumoto-sensei, I became a manga artist because of the numerous works of yours that I read.”

In the message, Matsumoto described Shibata as someone who stands at the forefront of the new generation and praised her storytelling ability. He then wrote the work of a manga artist is a lifelong endeavor, and that in order to maintain the stamina required to keep drawing over a long haul, one must have a target or a source of power. He encouraged Shibata to take on new challenges and to take pride in who she is.

Zack Davisson, manga translator, credits Matsumoto for the foundation of anime and manga

Zack Davisson, a Californian writer who has translated much of Matsumoto’s work, also expressed his condolences over this news.

An excerpt from his thread says:

Few artists had as much effect on my life as Leiji Matsumoto. His work was some of the first to receive English language releases. Long before the words “anime” or “manga” existed in the English language, we knew the name of Leiji Matsumoto.

Leji Matsumo’s work was the foundation of what we know as “anime/manga fandom,” in both the US and Japan. There is a reason the first-ever anime convention held in the US was called “Yamato Con.” And the first-ever anime cosplay was a collection of Leiji Matsumoto characters.

He further states that the world has “lost an absolute giant”.

Mangaka Nozomu Tamaki once interviewed Matsumoto

The creator of Dance in the Vampire Bund manga, Nozomu Tamaki also took to Twitter to talk about his encounter with Leiji Matsumoto.

In this thread, he says:

I’ve only met Leiji Matsumoto once. It was when I interviewed him about a Space Battleship Yamato PlayStation game. After we had a lively discussion about a wide range of topics, he asked me on the way home: “What kind of manga are you drawing?”
At the time, I was barely eking out a living with an adult magazine. Sheepishly, I told him the gist of it. In response, he encouraged me: “That’s fine, isn’t it? Draw that kind of thing while you can. Before long, you won’t be able to draw it even when you want to!”

I asked, “When you say ‘not being able to draw it,’ are you talking about age?” to which he grinned in response and said, “You’ll get teased by children in school.”

I suppose he was recalling his experiences drawing Sexaroid and Mystery Eve. It was a moment that stood out to me even more than the interview.

With such an incredible amount of love pouring out for Leiji Matsumoto, it’s evident that he has inspired a huge amount of people, whether fans or creators.

We at AnimeExplained are deeply saddened by the news of Leiji Matsumoto-sensei passing away. We wish him peace and thank him for giving the world his incomparable works.

Source: ANN