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Matsumoto signing books at the Geneva book fair in May, 2014
Akira Matsumoto (松本晟, Matsumoto Akira)
January 25, 1938
Kurume, Fukuoka, Japan
|Known for||character design, illustration|
|Space Battleship Yamato, Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express 999|
|Awards||Order of the Rising Sun|
Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
|Part of a series on|
|Anime and manga|
|Anime and manga portal|
Leiji Matsumoto (松本零士, Matsumoto Reiji, born Akira Matsumoto 松本晟), January 25, 1938 in Kurume, Fukuoka, Japan) is a Japanese mangaka, creator of several anime and manga series. His wife Miyako Maki is also a manga artist. 
Matsumoto was the middle child of a family of seven brothers, and, in his early childhood, Matsumoto was given a 35mm film projector by his father, and watched American cartoons during the Pacific War. During this time, he gained an interest in science fiction novels by authors Unno Juza and H. G. Wells. At 18, he moved to Tokyo, to become a mangaka.
Matsumoto is famous for his space operas such as Space Battleship Yamato and Galaxy Express 999. His style is characterized by mythological and often tragic storylines with strong moral themes, noble heroes, feminine heroines, and a love of strange worlds and melancholy atmosphere.
Matsumoto made his debut under his real name, Akira Matsumoto, in 1953. His wife is shōjo manga artist Miyako Maki (better known as the creator of the doll Licca-chan, the Japanese equivalent of Barbie).
Matsumoto had his big break with Otoko Oidon, a series that chronicled the life of a rōnin (a young man preparing for university entrance exams), in 1971. In 1972 he also created the mature-themed dark comedy Western seinen series, Gun Frontier, for Play Comic magazine, which ran from 1972 - 1975. Around the same time he started a series of unconnected short stories set during World War II, Senjo Manga Series, which would eventually become popular under the title The Cockpit.
He was involved in Space Battleship Yamato (1974) and created the highly popular series Space Pirate Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express 999 (both 1977). In 1978, he was awarded the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen for Galaxy Express 999 and Senjo Manga Series. Animated versions of Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express 999 are set in the same universe, which spanned several spin offs and related series, most notably Queen Emeraldas and Queen Millennia.
Matsumoto supervised the creation of several music videos for the French house group Daft Punk, set to tracks from their album Discovery. These videos were issued end-to-end (making a full-length animated movie) on a DVD release titled Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem.
About two dozen bronze statues – each perhaps four feet tall – of characters and scenes from Space Battleship Yamato and Galaxy Express 999 were erected in the downtown area of Tsuruga in 1999. Each statue includes a plaque at its base explaining the character, and featuring Matsumoto's signature.
Matsumoto worked with Yoshinobu Nishizaki on Space Battleship Yamato (known outside Japan under various names, but most commonly as Star Blazers). Matsumoto created a manga loosely based on the series, and the Yamato makes cameo appearances (sans crew) in several of his works including the Galaxy Express 999 manga.
A recent work by Matsumoto called Great Yamato featuring an updated Yamato had to be renamed Great Galaxy due to legal issues with Nishizaki. As of 2009, Matsumoto and Nishizaki were working on independent anime projects featuring the acclaimed Space Battleship Yamato, with the conditions that Matsumoto cannot use the name Yamato or the plot or characters from the original, and Nishizaki cannot use the conceptual art, character or ship designs of the original. Since Nishizaki's death in 2010, it is uncertain whether these restrictions will continue to apply.
On August 2014, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of his debut, Matsumoto launched the manga Captain Harlock ~Jigen Kōkai~ (Captain Harlock: Dimensional Voyage), illustrated by Kōichi Shimahoshi, in the pages of Akita Shoten's Champion Red magazine. Dimensional Voyage is a retelling of the original 1978 Space Pirate Captain Harlock manga. It had been licensed in the U.S. by Seven Seas.
On 15 November 2019, Matsumoto suffered severe respiratory problems and collapsed during an event in Turin, Italy, for the 40th anniversary tour celebrating the Captain Harlock anime adaptation. He was taken in hospital in critical condition, and had a breathing tube inserted after he was checked into the emergency unit. However, he was considered to be out of danger two days later.
List of works
|Arcadia of My Youth||1982||Story|
|Arcadia of My Youth: Endless Orbit SSX||1982-1983||Story|
|Arei no Kagami||1985||Story|
|Captain Harlock: Dimensional Voyage||2014||Story|
|Cosmo Warrior Zero||2001||Story|
|Fire Force DNAsights 999.9||1998|
|Galaxy Express 999||1977–1981||Story|
|Great Yamato No. Zero||2004-2007||Story|
|Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem||2003||Production
|Maeterlinck's Blue Bird: Tyltyl and Mytyl's Adventurous Journey||1980||Character
|Planet Robot Danguard Ace||1977–1978||Story|
|Saint Elmo – Hikari no Raihousha||1986||Credited|
|Senjo Manga series||1973–1978|
|Space Battleship Yamato||1974|
|Space Pirate Captain Harlock||1977–1979||Story|
|Space Symphony Maetel||2004-2005||Producer|
|Submarine Super 99||1970-1972||Story|
|The Galaxy Railways||2003-2007||Producer|
|The Ultimate Time Sweeper Mahoroba||1993-1998|
- Great Galaxy (formerly Great Yamato)
- Harlock Saga Der Ring des Nibelungen
- Queen Millennia (aka Queen of 1000 Years)
- Starzinger (part of the Force Five anthology series, as Spaceketeers) (1978–1979)
- The Ultimate Time Sweeper Mahoroba (manga)
- Planet Robot Danguard Ace (part of the U.S. Force Five anthology series, as Dangard Ace; 1977–1978)
- "Leiji Matsumoto, Shigeru Mizuki Earn Government Honors – News". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
- "Celebrated Manga Author Leiji Matsumoto Honored With Prestigious Ordre des Arts et des Lettres At The Rank Of Knight". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
- "牧美也子のプロフィール". allcinema. 1935-07-29. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
- "Leiji MATSUMOTO (manga artist)". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
- Tatsumi, Mook (2005). The World of Leiji Matsumoto.
- 小学館漫画賞：歴代受賞者 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
- "Friday, May 1 Tsuruga, Japan". Starblazers. Archived from the original on 2012-11-16. Retrieved 2015-05-15.
- "Leiji Matsumoto 1978 Interview". StarBlazers.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-21. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
- "Leiji Matsumoto 1976 Interview". StarBlazers.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
- 宇宙戦艦ヤマト事件判決. law.co.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2008-07-20.
- "Yamato dispute arises again". Anime News Network. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
- "Cosmoship Yamato Part 1: The Leiji Matsumoto Manga". StarBlazers.com. Archived from the original on 2011-01-05. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
- "Cosmoship Yamato Part 2: The Leiji Matsumoto Manga". StarBlazers.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
- "Leiji Matsumoto: A Tribute". StarBlazers.com. Archived from the original on 2009-10-02. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
- "Leiji Matsumoto to Launch New Captain Harlock Manga". Anime News Network. 18 July 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
- "Seven Seas Licenses Captain Harlock: Dimensional Voyage Manga". Anime News Network. 11 January 2017. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
- Lorenzetti, Simona (November 15, 2019). "Malore a Torino per Matsumoto: il papà di Capitan Harlock è grave". Corriere della Sera.
- "Torino, migliorano condizioni Matsumoto, sveglio e cosciente il creatore di Capitan Harlock". torino.repubblica.it.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Leiji Matsumoto.|
- Official website (in Japanese)
- Leiji Matsumoto at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Leiji Matsumoto on IMDb
- Leijiverse the world of Leiji Matsumoto
- Entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
- Leiji Matsumoto manga and anime at Media Arts Database (in Japanese)
- Ozma interview
- Ozma interview with Asahi Shimbun