News broke this morning that award-winning manga author Hideo Azuma has passed away. After a battle with esophageal cancer, his close relatives held a private funeral service for the 69-year-old author.
Azuma was an inventive manga creator. Since his debut 50 years ago, he has illustrated numerous original works. Some of his most notable manga includ Olympus no Poron and Nanako SOS. Both would be adapted to TV anime in 1982 and 1983. Often credited as a significant contributor to manga, Azuma popularized the modern “moe” and “lolicon” styles in anime and manga.
His most notable work, Disappearance Diary, is an autobiographical manga. It covers his years living homeless, working manual labor jobs, and struggles as a recovering alcoholic. A sequel in 2013 further covered his recovery from alcoholism.
Hideo Azuma collected numerous accolades over the years. Disappearance Diary won the grand prize in the prestigious Osamu Tezuka Cultural Awards in 2006. In 2009, Azuma became the first ever author from Japan to be honored with an Ignatz Award nomination for Disappearance Diary. The manga was also nominated at France’s Angouleme International Comics Festival in 2008.
Finally, only five days before his passing, Disappearance Diary won the Gran Guinigi award for Rediscovered Work. The manga had been published in Italy just this year, and Azuma is widely recognized as a visionary in Italian media. The awards ceremony is yet to be held, and it is not known who will accept the award in his place.
Rest in peace, Hideo Azuma. 1950-2019.