Leji Matsumoto.
Image via Niccolò Caranti
© CC BY-SA 4.0

Manga creator Leiji Matsumoto has died at the age of 85 due to acute heart failure. His immediate family held a service with his manga creator wife Miyako Maki as the chief mourner.

Mastumoto was one of Japan’s most beloved manga creators, responsible for Galaxy Express 999 and Space Pirate Captain Harlock among other works of manga. Even those who don’t watch anime or read mangas are likely to have heard of his work: Space Battleship Yamamato, aka Star Blazers, Galaxy Express 999, and Queen Esmeraldas.

Leiji Matsumoto was the pen name of the artist born Akira Matsumoto, January 25, 1938. He is survived by his widow, Miyako Maki, to whom we offer our deepest condolences.

Leiji Matsomoto was influenced by Japanese science fiction author Unno Juza and British science fiction author H. G. Wells. Juzo Okita, the captain of starship Yamato, was named in honor of Yunno Juza.

Space Battleship Yamato was a Japanese cartoon which aired from 1974 to 1976. An English-dubbed version was syndicated in the USA under the name Star Blazers. In 2010, there was a live action adaptation of Space Battleship Yamamoto, starring Takuya Kimura as Susumu Lodai.

Matsumoto recieved many honors during his lifetime, including the “Medal with Purple Ribbon” honor in 2001, and the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Rosette in 2010. In 2012 he received the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) decoration from the French government.

Captain Venice Harlock, Space Pirate

Leiji Matsumoto was best known for his science fiction, but he also worked with westerns Gun Frontier, and war adventures, The Cockpit. In addition to writing and drawing manga, he directed anime based on his work, and even directed a music video for a French band Daft Punk.

Eighty-five years is a long and full life, and we hope, a happy one. He delighted millions of fans worldwide, and helped set in motion a world of fantasy and adventure that thrives to this day. Ave atque vale.

Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.