(Image from the 2012 movie TATSUMI. Review here.)
Japanese manga artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi died on Saturday in Tokyo. He was 79. The cause was cancer.
He is best known for creating the "gekiga" style of manga comics (Mr. Tatsumi coined the word in 1957); literally stories with "dramatic pictures," aimed at a mature audience.
His 2009 autobiography A DRIFTING LIFE was awarded the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, as well as the regards sur le monde award from the Angoulême International Comics Festival and multiple Eisner Awards.
From the New York Times obituary:
Mr. Tatsumi grew up in this tradition, drawing manga as a child and publishing as a teenager. But by the time he was in his early 20s, he had begun producing stories with more adult concerns, part of a Japanese movement that predated the American underground comics of the 1960s and beyond created by the likes of R. Crumb and Art Spiegelman.
Often cited as an innovator, Mr. Tatsumi was one of a group of young writers and illustrators who, in the late 1950s, created a manga subgenre — Mr. Tatsumi christened it “gekiga” — that dealt, realistically and dramatically, with subjects like sex and violence, behavioral motives like greed and betrayal, and emotions like anguish and regret.
In “A Drifting Life,” Mr. Tatsumi wrote that he had been influenced by the gritty American novelist Mickey Spillane and the bad guy played by Jack Palance in the film “Shane.” He often went to the movies when a story he was writing had ground to a halt, and the influence of cinematic imagery and technique, especially in the dramatic interplay of light and shadow, is recognizable in his work.Drawn and Quarterly Obituary