April 10, 1939|
Niigata, Niigata, Japan
Recipient, Shogakukan Manga Award (1974, 1977)
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Shinji Mizushima (水島 新司 Mizushima Shinji, born April 10, 1939 in Niigata, Niigata Prefecture, Japan) is a Japanese manga artist. He is best known as an author of baseball manga, such as Yakyū-kyō no Uta, Dokaben, and Abu-san. He is a two-time recipient of the Shogakukan Manga Award. His works has collected more than 500 tankōbon volumes making him one of the most productive manga artists.
Mizushima began his career in 1958 when his debut work, Shinya no Kyaku, was awarded by a local manga magazine based in Osaka. He moved to Tokyo in 1964, where he began to publish numerous works for the Shōnen King magazine. His first serious work involving baseball came in 1969, when he published Ace no Jyōken. He also began to work for the Shōnen Sunday and Shōnen Champion magazines in 1970, where he published his first major hits in Otoko do Ahou Kōshien and Zenikko. His most iconic work, Dokaben, was first serialized on Shōnen Champion in 1972, and Yakyū-kyō no Uta was published in Monthly Shōnen Magazine the same year. Abu-san began publication on Big Comic Original in 1973. He received the Shogakukan Manga Award in 1974 for Otoko do Ahou Kōshien and Deba to Bat, and again in 1977 for Abu-san.
Mizushima's serialized works gained major standing around this period, making him a fixture in the manga industry and the foremost author of baseball manga. In 1975, he published Ikkyu-san; the continuation to Otoko do Ahou Kōshien, for Shōnen Sunday and Kyūdō-kun for Shōnen Big Comic in 1976. In 1977, he started Ikkyū Nyūkon, a magazine specializing in baseball manga, where he serialized Hakkyū no Uta, the counterpart to Yakyū-kyō no Uta set in the Pacific League. In 1981, he began publication of Hikari no Kojirō; an audacious work featuring an entirely original Japanese baseball league and commission.
In 1983, Mizushima published Dai Kōshien; a work featuring characters from Dokaben, Yakyū-kyō no Uta, Otoko do Ahou Kōshien, Ikkyū-san, Kyūdō-kun, and many of the other popular high-school baseball manga he had authored up until then. Mizushima continued to author numerous works through the 1980s, most notably Niji wo Yobu Otoko (1987) and Ohayō K-jirō (1990).
During the 1990s, Mizushima began to build on his most successful works, starting Dokaben Pro-yakyū hen in 1995 on the Shōnen Champion magazine, and Yakyū-kyō no Uta Heisei hen in 1997 for Mister Magazine. Mizushima continued this trend with Shin Yakyū-kyō no Uta (2000) and Dokaben Super Stars hen (2004), and has also continued to author Abu-san, which has spanned over 90 volumes since its inception in 1973. In 2004, Mizushima auctioned off the right to appear as a character in Abu-san for over 3 million yen as a fundraiser for Mangajapan.
Mizushima marked his 50th anniversary as a manga artist in 2007, and Shōnen Champion placed Dokaben on its front cover along with messages and illustrations from many other manga artists such as Osamu Akimoto, Takao Saito, Mitsuru Adachi, Takehiko Inoue, Rumiko Takahashi, Fujiko Fujio, and Hiroshi Takahashi to celebrate Mizushima's achievements. Other enthusiasts and baseball icons including Sadaharu Oh, Shigeo Nagashima, Takeshi Kitano, Hideki Matsui, and Kenji Jojima also contributed messages. Mizushima remains the oldest active manga artist to serialize on weekly publications, 13 years older than the next-youngest artist (Osamu Akimoto).
Mizushima is known as an avid Hawks fan, and the title character of Abu-san spends his entire career playing for the Nankai Hawks team. Mizushima depicts real baseball players, coaches, and managers in many of his manga, and the events taking place within his manga often mirror those of the real Japanese baseball world, with his fictitious characters interacting with real existing players. However, non-Japanese baseball players ceased to appear in his works authored during or after the 1990s (with notable exceptions such as Rodney Pedraza and Bobby Valentine, who make very brief appearances), after a non-Japanese player's agent demanded payment for using his client's name and image without permission. Because a single game can sometimes take months of serializations to complete, in certain scenes, Mizushima unknowingly changes the batting order and handedness of less important players. Another staple error in Mizushima's manga is consistency in the type of batting helmet used (the helmet covers the left ear for right-handed hitters, and the right ear of left-handed hitters).
List of major works
Listed alphabetically except for series works, which are listed chronologically.
|Years||Name||Total number of volumes|
|2009||Abu-san no Yakyuu Jinsei (あぶさんの野球人生‐全56章)||2|
|1995–2004||Dokaben Pro-yakyū hen (ドカベン プロ野球編)||52|
|2004–2012||Dokaben Super Stars hen (ドカベン スーパースターズ編)||45|
|2012–present||Dokaben Dream Tournament Hen (ドカベン ドリームトーナメント編)||17|
|2012||Dokaben Dream Tournament Hen Bekkan (ドカベン ドリームトーナメント編 別巻 山田太郎に挑む名選手傑作選)||1|
|1993||Ganbare Drinkers (がんばれドリンカーズ)||2|
|1958||Hakkyū no Uta (白球の詩)||9|
|1981–1984||Hikari no Kojirō (光の小次郎)||19|
|1946||Hoero Waka Tora (ほえろ若トラ)||2|
|1992||I Love Baseball||1|
|1974||Itadaki Yasubē (いただきヤスベエ)||3|
|2009–present||Kaa-chan no Kōshien – Taiyō no Seishun||0|
|1987–1989||Niji wo Yobu Otoko (虹を呼ぶ男)||10|
|1989–1995||Ohayō K-jirō (おはようKジロー)||29|
|1970–1975||Otoko do Ahou Kōshien (男どアホウ甲子園)||28|
|1975||Yakyū Taishō Gen-chan (野球大将ゲンちゃん)||3|
|1973||Yakyū-kyō no Uta (野球狂の詩)||17|
|1998||'Yakyū-kyō no Uta Heisei hen (野球狂の詩平成編)||3|
|2000||Shin Yakyū-kyō no Uta (新・やきゅうきょうのうた)||12|
|2006||Yakyū-kyō no Uta VS. Dokaben (野球狂の詩 VS.ドカベン)||1|
- 小学館漫画賞：歴代受賞者 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
- "Become a Manga Character". Anime News Network. 2004-09-02. Retrieved 2007-12-31.