Research Guru / Moderator
Aug 4, 2011, 3:17 PM
Sakyo Komatsu, considered by many to be Japan's leading science-fiction author, died July 26 of pneumonia at a hospital in Minoo, Osaka Prefecture, people close to him said. He was 80.
Science-fiction novelist Sakyo Komatsu dead at 80
Born Minoru Komatsu in Osaka on January 28, 1931, he became a pioneer of Japanese sci-fi writing. The 1989 Gainax series Komatsu Sakyo Anime Gekijo (Sakyo Komatsu's Anime Theater), which ran for 27 three-minute episodes, was adapted from various short stories, particularly Komatsu's "Punk Dragon" short-story collection.
Komatsu started his career in the 1960s. Early on, he wrote the 1964 8 Man episode Good Bye Eight Man.
He was one of two writers of the 1965 Tokyo TV Dôga series Uchûjin Pipi. Also known as Pipi The Alien and Pipi The Spaceman, the series -- combining animation with live action -- ran for 52 24-minute episodes on NHK. Most of the episodes for this series are lost.
He was in the voice cast of Senya Ichiya Monogatari (Arabian Nights), a 1969 animated feature film from Mushi Productions. It was adapted from Osamu Tezuka's self-published manga adaptations. Tezuka, one of the producers, invited several famed novelists (including Komatsu) to contribute their vocal talents.
Raised in Nishinomiya, near Osaka, Komatsu studied Italian literature at Kyoto University while working on a magazine with classmates. Following graduation, he had several jobs, including working as a magazine reporter and a writer for stand-up comedy acts.
His science-fiction disaster novel Nippon Chimbotsu (Japan Sinks) became a best-seller. It was adapted into a movie and published abroad.
The novel is about tectonic movements which submerge the whole Japanese archipelago, and about how the Japanese people respond.
A prize-winning author, Komatsu was involved in organizing Expo 70, the Japan World Exposition in Osaka Prefecture.
Just before he died, Komatsu said that Japan "will certainly overcome this crisis (caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami), according to his office. "I think Japan will certainly be able to realize a utopia. I believe in Japan and the Japanese people."
A funeral service was held for family members.
[Via Kyodo News -- search.japantimes.co.jp/rss/nn20110729a8.html, Anime News Network -- www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2011-07-28/science-fiction-novelist-sakyo-komatsu-passes-away]