Veteran cartoonist Jiro Taniguchi, one of Japan’s best-known manga artists, passed away Saturday, February 11, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. He was 69 years old.
Taniguchi was born on April 14, 1947 in Tottori, Japan. He began his career with the industry serving as an assistant to manga artist, Kyota Ishikawa. He made his own manga debut in 1970 with Kareta Heya (A Desiccated Summer), published in the magazine Young Comic.
Between 1978 and 1986, Taniguchi worked extensively with writer Natsuo Sekigawa on several hardboiled comics, including Botchan no Jidai and City Without Defense. Throughout this time, he also worked with Garon Tsuchiya, Baku Yumemakura, and Moebius, creating titles such as, Ao no Senshi, Kamigami no itadaki, and Ikaru.
Taniguchi’s work with elegant line drawings and intricately constructed landscapes earned him an international following. His work was particularly popular in France, a fact Taniguchi never quite understood. “I don't know why I am also known outside Japan,” the graphic artist once modestly remarked.
He gained several prizes for his work, including the prestigious Osamu Tezuka Culture (1998) for the series Botchan no Jidai. Not to mention, the Shogakukan prize for Inu o Kau, and the Alph'Art of the best scenario at the Angoulême International Comics Festival (France) for A Distant Neighborhood.
As recent as 2015, his work was featured at the annual Angouleme international comics festival in France. Certainly, Taniguchi’s legacy will live on, inspiring the next generation of manga creators.