Japanese Icon Dead at 68

(RepublicanDaily.org) – Dragon Ball creator and artist Akira Toriyama has died at the age of 68.

The artist suffered a subdural hematoma, according to representatives from Capsule Corporation Tokyo and Bird Studio, Toriyama’s design production and manga companies. A subdural hematoma is a condition where a person bleeds inside their head, with the blood collecting between the skull and the brain. No other details of the artist’s death were provided.

Toriyama is best known for creating and drawing what is arguably one of the world’s most popular and well-loved manga series, Dragon Ball, which follows the adventures of Son Goku as he searches for seven magical balls that when collected, allow him to summon a dragon what would grant him one wish. The series was first serialized in Japan’s Weekly Shonen Jump in 1984, and was instantly a massive hit. In Japan alone, the series has sold more than 150 million copies, and is considered to be one of the best-selling mangas of all time. Dragon Ball was also adapted into an anime (Japanese cartoon) series, and has exploded into a global franchise that has millions of fans worldwide.

News of Toriyama’s death sparked waves of inspirational messages from fans – many of whom also happen to be great manga artists in their own right. Eiichiro Oda, the creator of another globally massive manga and anime, One Piece, said that Toriyama’s passing has left a “hole too big” to fill in the manga industry, admitting that he was a fan of Toriyama’s since he was a child. Oda also credited Toriyama for creating an era where both kids and adults could enjoy reading manga.

“He showed us the dream that manga can go worldwide,” Oda wrote, adding, “May heaven be the joyous world he envisioned.”

Masashi Kishimoto, the author of yet another global manga and anime sensation, Naruto, referred to Toriyama as “sensei” or teacher, recalling how he grew up reading Dr. Slump and Dragon Ball when he was younger. Reading Toriyama’s work, Masashi wrote, “was a relief for me, a country boy who had nothing.” Masashi says that he was ultimately inspired to pursue becoming a mangaka (Japanese comic book artist) himself.

“Thank you, Akira Toriyama-sensei, for all of your enjoyable works over the past 45 years,” Masashi said.

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