George Akiyama, the beloved creator of manga like Haguregumo, has passed away. Reports from Japan confirmed the artist died earlier in May. He was 77 years old.
As Anime News Network reports, Akiyama was buried in a private funeral attended by family. The manga publisher Shogakukan says Akiyama was already planning his next project when he died. Despite being in his late '70s, Akiyama was active in the mangaka community and respected by many for his legendary works.
Born in April 1943, Akiyama grew up in Ashikaga as the second World War came to a close. The boy grew up with four siblings while Akiyama was the middle child in between them all. Before he could finish high school, the artist dropped out and headed for Tokyo to pursue his dream of becoming a manga artist. It was there he began assisting Kenji Morita with his manga and made his major publication debut with Gaikotsu-kun.
Shortly after his career kicked off, Akiyama became the subject of controversy when he published Ashura in 1970. The manga was radical at the time given its disturbing imagery including murder, cannibalism, and more. Ashura would go on to be banned at several points during its lifespan which made Akiyama infamous with fans and professionals.
Eventually, Akiyama went on to tone down his work and land larger manga serials such as Haguregumo. The mangaka also created manga like Hakuai no Hito, Lovelin Monroe, and more. The last publication Akiyama made before retiring was in 2005, and it remains his last work to this day.
Our thoughts are with Akiyama's loved ones during this difficult time. May he rest in peace.