'Doraemon' Co-Creator & Iconic Manga Artist Fujiko Fujio Passes Away At 88

Cartoonist Motoo Abiko, one half of the famed Fujiko Fujio duo, also created other popular manga series like 'Ninja Hattori-kun', 'Kaibutsu-kun', 'Pro Golfer Saru', and 'Warau Salesman'.

Cover image via TV Tropes & livedoor news

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The manga community was hit with sad news on Thursday, 7 April, with the passing of famed Japanese manga artist and co-creator of the much-loved Doraemon cartoon, Fujiko Fujio

The beloved artist, whose real name was Motoo Abiko, was 88 years old. 

He was known best for creating Doraemon, which was brought to life with his high school friend Hiroshi Fujimoto. They started a partnership in 1951 and produced works under the pen name 'Fujiko Fujio'.

Hiroshi Fujimoto (left) with the beloved character 'Doraemon' (middle) and Motoo Abiko (right).

Image via Doraemon Wiki

The pair worked on the classic manga which ran from 1969 to 1996. While the popular series was ongoing in 1987, the pair decided to go their own ways. Then, in the same year the last volume of the manga was published, Fujimoto passed away following a battle with liver cancer.

A total of 45 tankobon manga volumes were released over the course of its run, with more than 1,345 chapters being published.

By 2019, more than 250 million copies of the manga were in circulation, making Doraemon one of the biggest series in the entire manga industry's history.

Hiroshi Fujimoto (left) and Motoo Abiko (right) with a 'Doraemon' stuffed toy in 1980.

Image via Asahi Shimbun

While many consider Doraemon to be Fujio's greatest success, Abiko created a number of other popular manga series on his own

A poster for an exhibition honouring the legendary mangaka held by the Roppongi Hills observatory in late 2018.

Image via Fujiko Studio via pen

Titles like Ninja Hattori-kun, Kaibutsu-kun, Pro Golfer Haru, and more, are just some classics that got their own anime adaptations decades ago.

Apart from funny series with quirky characters, Abiko also created darker manga works like Warau Salesman, which means the laughing salesman.

Motoo Abiko stands in front of a poster for his manga 'The Laughing Salesman' in 2020.

Image via Asahi Shimbun

While new anime fans may not be as familiar with the creator, Abiko and his art defined older generations of manga lovers.

In 2008, the artist was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette — a national decoration awarded by the Japanese government — for his achievements in the field.

According to police reports, he was found collapsed outside of his home in Kawasaki City, Tokyo

Emergency services were called from the artist's home but when help arrived he was already unresponsive, reported TBS.

Abiko was pronounced dead at the scene.

No significant injuries were found on his body, but police are still investigating the cause of death.

Feeling nostalgic now? Here are some fun facts about the beloved robotic cat:

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