It is with great sadness that Cult FAction must report that gekiga manga pioneer Yoshihiro Tatsumi passed away yesterday. He was 79 years old. The news was broke following director Eric Khoo e-mailing to London-based Journalist Paul Gravett with the sad news.
Tatsumi coined the term gekiga for the darker, nontraditional style of storytelling in his manga works in the late 50s. His 840-page autobiographical manga tome A Drifting Life retells the creator’s struggle to make a living after World War II. The manga won the Prix Regards sur le monde (World Outlook Award) at France’s Angoulême International Comics Festival in 2012 and the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2009. Tatsumi himself received a special prize at Angoulême in 2005.
Eric Khoo adapted the manga into an animated feature and it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011. Khoo told Gravett in an interview that Tatsumi was working on a sequel to A Drifting Life that would end with the film premiere at Cannes.
Tatsumi’s other works include Midnight Fishermen, Fallen Words, Black Blizzard, Good-Bye, The Push Man and Other Stories and Abandon the Old in Tokyo. Drawn & Quarterly released many of his works in English.