Monkey Punch (real name Kazuhiko Kato) is one of the biggest names in manga, serving not only as the mangaka behind Lupin III, but also as a professor of Manga Animation at Otemae University. Sadly, the legend has now passed away due to pneumonia. He was 81.

The manga great was born in Hamanaka, Hokkaido, and has resided in Sakura, Chiba until his passing on 11 April 2019. He started drawing 4-koma manga and doujinshi, before making his professional debut in 1965 with Playboy School under the pen name Eiji Gamuta, and changing his pen name to Monkey Punch following a suggestion by his editor.

However, it wasn’t until August 10, 1967 that he would make his first big break, creating the well know Lupin III.

The series would later inspire various other productions such as TV anime, a live-action film, crossovers with other franchises, a Universal Studios attraction, and animated films. The most famous of which is of course, Castle of Cagliostro, which was written and directed by none other than Hayao Miyazaki himself.

He leaves behind an indelible legacy not only in manga and anime, but Japanese pop culture as a whole. His list of awards includes a Lifetime Achievement Award during 2015’s Tokyo Anime Awards, the TAAF’s Meritous Service Award, as well as various international awards. The mangaka also served as a judge in various manga competitions, including a few international ones, touching the lifes of many young talented mangaka.

Dedicating his life to passing on his craft, he started teaching in 2005 and became a visiting professor at Tokyo University of Technology in May 2010. He passed away regarded by many fans as one of the greatest mangaka of all time.

The entire So Japan Team has been saddened by his passing. We extend our condolences to his friends and family, and may he Rest in Peace.

Source: Mantan Web