Japanese authors who die young

What’s with all the Japanese manga-ka suffering from illness and dying young?

Kei Aoyama, (author of China Girl) killed himself at age 32.

Crayon Shin-chan (accidentally?) killed herself in cliff fall at age 51.

Akinari Matsuno, best known for light novel harem series MM! passed at age 32.

Noboru Yamaguchi, Zero no Tsukaima’s author died of pancrea cancer at  age 41.

Director Satoshi Kon died at aged 46 of Pancrea Cancer (Paranoia Agent.)

Cocoa Fujiwara, died at age 31 of illness. (She was the author of Boku X Inu SS & Katsute Mahou Shoujo to Aku wa Tekitai Shite Ita.)

Miyata Kouji, mangaka of Oh, My Sweet Alien passes away at age 34.

Ganbare Goemon Manga Artist Hiroshi Obi  dies at age 54.

KAWASHIMA Tadashi (Daughter Maker) died at age 42 to liver cancer

Ryūtarō Nakamura (Director of Serial Experiments in Lain) dies at age 58 to pancrea cancer.

Hiromu Minato (湊 ヒロム). A light novel illustrator who suffered from illness and gradually lost the ability to draw. She died young under under mysterious circumstances, while complaining about sexual harassment from coworkers. She might have been crazy, or she might have been raped. Her case bothers me the most.

The Tragedy of Hiromu Minato



blue wind mangaka sample

I liked how she inked kimonos.

And then you have all the suffering manga-ka:


Their quick lives are a paradox when Japan has a reputation for many centennials. The common explanation is to blame it on karoshi – death by overwork to meet publication deadlines. But I wonder if there is also a selection bias at play – if unhealthy individuals are more likely to become manga-ka. I.e. if sickly people are more attracted to the indoor escapism that is drawing manga, rather than exercising their bodies. This goes may go hand in hand with the surprising number of fans I’ve encountered who have mentioned staying at hospitals with potentially terminal diseases.

Regardless, I thought suffering artists were confined to classical paintings like Van Gough, but it seems that I can’t even take pretty flat illustrations for granted anymore! Behind every illustration there might be an untold story of a life cut short. It’s saddening to think about how many creative types have literally died making their art! (I.e. actors.)


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