Japanese Manga Artist Shinji Mizushima Dies at 82

Society Culture

Tokyo, Jan. 17 (Jiji Press)--Famed Japanese manga artist Shinji Mizushima, known for baseball-themed cartoon titles including "Dokaben" and "Abusan," died of pneumonia at a hospital in Tokyo on Jan. 10. He was 82.

Born in Niigata Prefecture, central Japan, Mizushima made his debut as a professional manga artist in 1958 and started his masterpiece Dokaben series in 1972.

Initially a story about high school baseball, Dokaben and its four sequels featured slugger Taro Yamada and his unique teammates and rivals. The series continued for 46 years, until 2018, prompting many young people in Japan to take up baseball.

Abusan featured Yasutake Kageura, a hard hitter who also was a hard drinker. Mizushima's celebrated titles also included "Yakyukyo no Uta" about a female pitcher rising in professional baseball with her various breaking balls.

Mizushima himself was a big fan of the Nankai Hawks, the real-life professional baseball team now called the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. His works were loved by many professional baseball players including the late Nobuyuki Kagawa, who was popular for his large body similar to that of the Dokaben protagonist.

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