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His work has been translated into many languages, and Canadian publisher Drawn and Quarterly have embarked on a project to publish an annual compendium of his works focusing each on the highlights of one year of his work (beginning with 1969), edited by American cartoonist Adrian Tomine. This is one event in a seemingly coincidental rise to worldwide popularity that Tomine relates to in his introduction to the first volume of the aforementioned series. Tatsumi received the Japan Cartoonists Association Award in 1972. In 2009, he was awarded the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize for his autobiography, A Drifting Life. The same work garnered him multiple Eisner awards (Best Reality-Based Work and Best U.S. Edition of International Material–Asia) in 2010 and the regards sur le monde award in Angoulême International Comics Festival in 2012.
A full-length animated feature on the life and short stories of Yoshihiro Tatsumi was released in 2011. The film, Tatsumi, is directed by Eric Khoo and The Match Factory is handling world sales.