HomeNewsLeiji Matsumoto, Manga Creator Of Epic Space Sagas, Passed Away At 85

Leiji Matsumoto, Manga Creator Of Epic Space Sagas, Passed Away At 85

When you speak of the Manga series, Leiji Matsumoto is the first name that hits the mind. The  Japanese anime creator, known for cult works like, “Space Battleship Yamato”, “Captain Harlock” and “Galaxy Express 999”, passed away at the age of 85, leaving behind a legacy to remember. Read on to learn more about his cause of death.

Manga Master, Leiji Matsumoto Cause Of Death

Legendary manga and anime creator, Leiji Matsumoto, took his last breath on Feb. 13, 2023. The news of the Japanese mangaka was brought to light by the production company Toei. It is reported that Leiji Matsumoto died at the age of 85 from “heart failure”.

FYI, in 2019, he suffered severe respiratory problems and collapsed during an event in Turin, Italy, for the 40th-anniversary tour celebrating the Captain Harlock anime adaptation. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but was later declared “out of danger”.

He was known for some of the most epic space sagas, which were later adopted into animated TV series and films for a global audience. For instance, Masumoto’s cult works such as “Space Battleship Yamato”, “Captain Harlock” and “Galaxy Express 999” were adapted into animated TV series and films that garnered global popularity in the 1970s and 80s. 

Matsumoto Leaves Behind A Legacy…

Leiji Matsumoto was just 7 years old when World War 2 ended. During his early childhood, Leiji was given a 35mm film projector by his dad, where he enjoyed watching American cartoons during the Pacific War. It was at this time that he gained interest in sci-fi novels by renowned authors like Unno Juza and H.G. Wells. When he turned 18, Leiji moved to Tokyo to become a manga artist.

Most of his manga included the “battlefield comics” genre with more than 150 stories depicting the tragedy of war. The anti-war theme came from his father, who was an elite army pilot, and often said what every soldier would, “War should never be fought”.

In previous interviews, Matsumoto often stated that his work was “informed by his wish for people not to experience war and to live for the earth”. He told public broadcaster NHK in 2015, “Human beings should make efforts to protect all living creatures and nature on earth.

During his career, his fantastical depictions of machinery and space travel – interstellar steam trains to battle against aliens wielding radioactive meteorites, garnered an international audience. In 1972, he created the dark comedy Western seinen series, “Gun Frontier” for Play Comic magazine (ran from 1972-1975). Apart from this, he also started a series of unconnected short stories, “Senjo Manga Series” set around World War 2. This later became popular as “The Cockpit”.

Matsumoto is also credited for his works, such as Space Battleship Yamato (1974), Space Pirate Captain Harlock (1977) and Galaxy Express 999 (1977). He received the Shogakukan Manga Award for Galaxy Express 999 and Senjo Manga Series.

Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express 999, which were set in the same universe, were later turned into several spin-offs and related series, like Queen Emeraldas and Queen Millennia. He also supervised the creation of several music videos for the famous band, “Daft Punk”. In 2012, he was awarded the prestigious Order of Arts and Letters by the French government.

In a 2013 interview, Matsumoto opened up about living through the atomic bombing, “The plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima went right over my head. The second was meant for a town close to Fukuoka where I was living. It was bad weather that condemned Nagasaki,” he said.

He concluded, “That traumatised me, but was a source of inspiration, as were all the experiences of my youth… personal experience is essential for a creative spirit.” Matsumoto may be gone, but his creations thrive as a cult in the lives of manga fans. He is survived by his wife, Miyako Maki, who is also a manga artist.

I am Mallika Singh, a lawyer and writer by profession. Writing gives me a sense of freedom and independence. I am a keen observer and an ardent reader. When not at work, you can find me at the stable. Horse riding is another passion that keeps me going.


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