Manga or Japanese comics is for both adults and children. Some manga are not for the faint of heart as their illustrations can be both graphic and ominous. However, for the most part, manga is deeply entrenched in Japanese culture and has spawned a huge industry that has crossed over from East to West, and as much loved by fans in the West as in the East. Different to traditional Graphic Novelists Japanese Manga is a very unique art which ventures into a world very familiar to the average Japanese, yet often shocking for the average Westerner. Often flirting with boundaries between fun and interesting drawings all the way to NSFW. Here we pay tribute to some of the greatest manga artists the world has ever seen.
10. George Morikawa
Jyoji Morikawa or George Morikawa is a manga author for the series Hajime no Ippo, which has been serialized by Kodansha in Weekly Shonen Magazine since October 1989. It is a boxing manga written and illustrated by Morikawa and there are 128 tankobon volumes as of June 2020. This manga depicts the story of Makunouchi Ippo and his career in boxing and his wins and defeats in the sport.
Between October 2000 to March 2002, a 76-episode anime adaptation was produced by Madhouse Inc. a Japanese animation studio and aired on Nippon TV.
A television film and an original video animation were released in 2003. A second series titled Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger aired from January to June 2009. A third series Hajime no Ippo: Rising aired from October 2013 to March 2014.
In North America, the first series was licensed by Geneon in 2003, which released it under the name Fighting Spirit.
As of November 2019, the manga had nearly 100 million copies in print, making it one of the most distributed series. In 1991, Morikawa won the 15th Kodansha Manga Award in the shōnen category for Hajime no Ippo.
Born on January 17, 1966, Morikawa is estimated to have a personal net worth of $3 million.
9. Keisuke Itagaki
It’s not every day that one’s children is also a manga artist. Well, for Keisuke, his daughter, Paru Itagaki is the author of Beastars. Keisuke was born April 4, 1957.
Keisuke himself is the author of Grappler Baki which ran from 1991 to 1999 in four sequels. Grappler Baki sold well over 75 million copies. Baki the Grappler is a teenage fighter in a series of lethal combat competitions. Although no further sequels were written after 1999, it is still very much in circulation today.
In 1996, Itagaki began on Garoden, an original work by the Japanese science fiction and adventure writer. Garoden is a series of martial arts novels.
Keisuke Itagaki is thought to have built up a personal wealth of approximately $5 million.
8. Yoichi Takahashi
Takahashi is best known for Captain Tsubasa about Tsubasa Oozora a manga footballer with dynamic and martial arts like moves. He is also known for his soccer series Hungry Heart: Wild Striker. Captain Tsubasa is widely recognized to have ignited interest in football in Japan. Takahashi was a guest of FC Barcelona in 2016 when he visited. FC Barcelona is Oozora’s football club in the manga.
In volume sales, Captain Tsubasa and all ancillary works have logged an impressive $80 million or more in sales. He received the Honorary Citizen Award from Katsushika for his contributions to the city through his manga.
Born July 28, 1960, Yoichi Takahashi is estimated to have a personal fortune of some $5 million.
7. Hirohiko Araki
Hirohiko Araki is behind the manga series JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1987 to 2004. The series is divided into eight storylines over a mini-series, with each storyline depicting the adventures of a new protagonist. Each protagonist has the nickname “JoJo”.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is loved by its fans for its unique style and poses, references to Western popular music and fashion, and creative battles scenes and psycho-spiritual manifestations, with its protagonists and characters possessing supernatural abilities. The series has sold over 100 million copies in print to date, making it one of the best-selling manga series in history, and it has developed into a media franchise including one-shot manga, light novels, and video games. The manga, TV anime, and live-action film are licensed in North America by Viz Media, which has produced various English-language releases of the series since 2005.
This large following and distribution has made Hirohiko Araki its creator and illustrator a wealthy man, and we estimate that he has put away a nice nest egg of some $10 to $13 million. Hirohiko Araki was born June 7, 1960.
6. Masashi Kishimoto
Naruto was serialized from 1999 to 2014 and sold over 240 million copies worldwide in 46 countries, as of 2019. The series has also been made into anime, films, video games, and related media. The artist behind Naruto was Masahi Kishimoto who in 2019 started writing the manga Samurai 8: the Tale of Hachimaru.
Naruto is about a young ninja called Naruto Uzumaki who dreamed of being the leader of his village, while seeking recognition from his peers.
Born November 8, 1974, Masashi Kishimoto has always wanted to write his own manga and spent some years working to write his own shonen manga for Weekly Shonen Jump magazine.
With his success, Masashi Kishimoto is reported to have accumulated a personal net worth of some $25 million.
5. Yoshihiro Togashi
Togashi’s manga opus must be Hunter X Hunter which has 380 chapters, collected into 36 volumes by Shueisha Inc. Hunter x Hunter is about a young boy called Gon Freecss who discovered that his father who left him at a young age is actually a famous “Hunter”. In the manga, a Hunter is sort of a professional mercenary who is hired to locate rare animal species, treasure hunt, or bring in the lawless. Gon sets out to be a Hunter himself and in his many journeys, discovered his long-lost father.
Hunter x Hunter has been adapted into a 62-episode anime television series by Nippon Animation, with a second anime series produced by Madhouse Inc., which aired on Nippon Television from 2011 to 2014, covering a total of 148 episodes. There have also been theatrical films, audio albums, video games and musicals made of Hunter x Hunter.
Hunter x Hunter is a huge financial and critical success with over 78 million copies in circulation since November 2019. This manga has reached sales of some $80 million worldwide.
Born April 27, 1966, Yoshihiro Togashi has been able to amass a personal fortune of an estimated $25 million.
4. Hajime Isayama
For Hajime Isayama (born August 29, 1986), his Attack on Titan is one of the best-selling manga of all time, having achieved distribution of 100 million copies as of December 2019.
Born August 29, 1986, Isayama’s Attack on Titan series was first published in the monthly Bessatsu Shonen Magazine in 2009. It was later nominated for both the 4th annual Manga Taisho award and the 16th annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize. Attack on Titan is released in English by Kodansha USA and has been developed into 5 spin-off manga series, three light novel series, a televised anime adaptation, a few visuals novels, and video games and a two-part live-action film.
Attack on Titan tells the story of a society being threatened by gigantic humanoids called Titans.
Isayama has also created Attack on Avengers (2014) and The Killing Pawn (2014). Financially, Isayama has accumulated personal wealth of some $45 million.
3. Gosho Aoyama
Detective Conan follows the story of a high school detective Shinichi Kudo who was de-aged into a child while investigating a mysterious organization and who went on to solve many cases while impersonating his childhood best friend’s father and other characters.
The series received an anime adaptation by Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation and TMS Entertainment, premiering in 1996. The English language releases are called Case Closed.
Aoyama was already a talented artist at an early age, having won and been recognized for his talent in school with awards and wins in various competitions. Aoyama made his debut as a manga artist with Chotto Mattete which was in the magazine Shonen Sunday in 1987. Magic Kaito was his second manga creation whose protagonist later appeared in Detective Conan. Detective Conan has sold over 200 million copies in print alone worldwide.
Born June 21, 1963, Gosho Aoyama is estimated to have a net worth of some $50 million.
2. Akira Toriyama
Before Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama created Dr. Slump which received mainstream recognition for its wide success. Dragon Ball is Toriyama’s best-known work which has become a hugely popular manga and media franchise. Dragon Ball was inspired by Chinese folklore Journey to the West and follows Son Goku from childhood through adult life. Son Goku trained in martial arts and lived in isolation until he met a girl called Bulma who he teamed up to scour the world for seven magical orbs called Dragon Balls.
Dragon Balls is to date the biggest cross-over to the West bring manga to the forefront of the US in a way no other manga has been able to.
Akira Toriyama is also responsible for the character designs of the huge Dragon Quest video game series.
Born April 5, 1955, Akira Toriyama has created and illustrated over 40 mangas in his career. Toriyama is estimated to be worth $50 million.
1. Eiichiro Oda
Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece has been serialized since 1997 and has sold over 470 million copies worldwide. Once Piece is both the best-selling manga and possibly the best selling comic series of all time.
One Piece tells the story of Monkey D. Luffy, a boy who could stretch like rubber after eating a Devil Fruit. Luffy explores the Grand Line in search of One Piece, the world’s ultimate treasure with his crew of pirates called Straw Hat Pirates.
This manga is a media franchise, having been adapted into a festival film produced by Production I.G, and an anime series produced by Toei Animation, premiering in Japan in 1999. Additionally, Toei has developed fourteen animated feature films, one original video animation, and thirteen television specials. Several companies have developed various types of merchandising and media, such as a trading card game and numerous video games.
The series had an English language release in North America and the United Kingdom by Viz Media and in Australia by Madman Entertainment. The anime series was licensed by 4Kids Entertainment for an English-language release in North America in 2004, before the license was dropped and subsequently acquired by Funimation in 2007.
Born January 1, 1975, Eiichiro Oda has won over 12 awards including the Sondermann Awards and the Guinness World Record for the “most copies published for the same comic book series by a single author”.
Oda is estimated to the wealthiest manga creator with an estimated wealth of over $200 million.
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