Takao Saito

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Takao Saito
Born (1936-11-03) November 3, 1936 (age 82)
OccupationManga artist
Years active1955–present
Known forGolgo 13
AwardsShogakukan Manga Award (1976)

Takao Saito (Japanese: 斎藤 隆夫さいとう・たかを, Hepburn: Saitō Takao, born November 3, 1936) is a Japanese manga and gekiga artist.[1] He is best known for Golgo 13, which has been serialized in Big Comic since 1968, making it the oldest manga still in publication.[2][3]

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Nishiwasa city (now Wakayama city), Saito moved soon after and grew up in Osaka. He did not know he was born in Nishiwasa until he was 43 years old.[4] After graduating from junior high school, Saito decided to become a manga artist, influenced by movies like King Kong and War of the Worlds.

He debuted with his first manga Baron Air in 1955.[4] In 1958 he moved to Tokyo, where he started a comic story atelier (劇画工房) together with seven other artists (Masahiko Matsumoto, Aki Masa Sato, Fumi Ishikawa Yasu, Masaru Sakurai, Susumu Mon, Tsu Motomi, Qi Mahi). Since April 1960, he has run Saito Production, a company with currently 19 employees. In 1971 he also started to give courses in drawing manga.

Saito was also a close friend of fellow manga artist Shotaro Ishinomori.

Leed Publishing[edit]

Saito is a director at Leed Publishing (株式会社リイド社), a publishing company spun-off from his Saito Production.[5] It was founded in November 1974 and Saito's older brother was its president and CEO until his death in 2016. Following his brother's death, his brother's eldest son took over.[6] In addition to many other products, Leed jointly publishes the Golgo 13 tankōbon volumes with Shogakukan.

Awards and accolades[edit]

In 1976, Saito won the 21st Shogakukan Manga Award in the General category for Golgo 13.[7]

In 2002, he and Golgo 13 won the Grand Prize at the Japan Cartoonists Association Awards.[8]

In 2009, Saito was among the 158 manga artists invited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of both Shogakukan's Weekly Shōnen Sunday magazine and Kodansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazine at the Tokyo Imperial Hotel.[9][10]

In 2010, the Japanese Government gave Saito the Order of the Rising Sun, 4th Class, Gold Rays with Rosette.[11]

In 2013, over 300 people attended an event at the Tokyo Imperial Hotel to celebrate 45 years of Golgo 13, including Deputy Prime Minister of Japan Tarō Asō.[12]

In January 2018, Saito received the Wakayama Prefecture Cultural Award from his birth prefecture.[4]

Saito Takao Award[edit]

The Saito Takao Gekiga Cultural Foundation established the Saito Takao Award (さいとう・たかを賞, Saitō Takao Shō) in 2017 and first awarded it in 2018. It is given in three categories: manga artist, scenario writer, and editor/editorial department. The prize given is called the "Golgo 13 Trophy," and winners in the manga artist and scenario writer categories also receive 500,000 yen (about US$4,530). Only professional manga editors can submit nominations. Nominated manga must target adult readers and be completely original works, not adaptations.[13]

Selected works[edit]

  • Baron Air (空気男爵, 1955)
  • Typhoon Goro (台風五郎, 1958)
  • 007 Series (1964–1967)
  • Golgo 13 (ゴルゴ13, 1968)
  • Kage Gari (影狩り, 1969)
  • Survival (サバイバル, 1976)
  • Barom-1 (バロム・1, 1970)
  • Japan Sinks (1970) (manga adaptation)[14]
  • Master Thief Sugar (怪盗シュガー, Kaitō Shugā), which was adapted into the unreleased NES video game Secret Ties.[15]
  • Doll: The Hotel Detective (ホテル探偵DOLL, 1980)\[16]
  • Professional Swordsmen of the Edo Era (剣客商売)
  • The Shadowman (THE シャドウマン)
  • Breakdown (ブレイクダウン, 1995)


  1. ^ Onoda Power, Natsu. God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post–World War II Manga. University Press of Mississippi, 2009. p. 96. Great Comics Artists. ISBN 978-1-60473-221-4.
  2. ^ "Golgo 13 Author Saito Discusses Manga's Hypothetical Ending". Anime News Network. 2013-11-16. Retrieved 2015-04-08.
  3. ^ "Artists Celebrate 45 Years of Golgo 13". Anime News Network. 2013-11-13. Retrieved 2015-04-08.
  4. ^ a b c "「故郷に認められ本当にうれしい」 さいとう・たかをさんに和歌山県文化賞授与". Sankei Shimbun. 2018-01-20. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  5. ^ "Jason Thompson's House of 1000 Manga - Golgo 13". Anime News Network. 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  6. ^ 【訃報】斉藤發司氏(さいとう・はつじ=リイド社創業者、代表取締役社長) (in Japanese). Shinbunka. 2016-06-10. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  7. ^ "Manga List" 小学館漫画賞: 歴代受賞者 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Archived from the original on 5 August 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Japanese Cartoonists' Association Awards". hahnlibrary.net. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  9. ^ "158 Manga Creators Mark Shonen Sunday, Mag's 50th Year". Anime News Network. 2009-03-19. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
  10. ^ 週刊少年サンデー・週刊少年マガジン50周年記念大同窓会、名だたる漫画家たちによるコメントムービー (in Japanese). 2009-03-17. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
  11. ^ "Golgo 13's Saito, Sunset on 3rd St.'s Saigan Win Medals". Anime News Network. 2010-04-28. Retrieved 2015-04-08.
  12. ^ Atsushi, Ohara (2 December 2013). "Manga 'Golgo 13' celebrates 45 years of continuous publication". Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 24 October 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  13. ^ "Golgo 13's Takao Saito Launches New Manga Award". Anime News Network. 2017-06-11. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  14. ^ "Japan Sinks". JManga. Archived from the original on 16 May 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  15. ^ Cifaldi, Frank (August 2004). "Spotlight: Secret Ties". Lostlevels.org. Lost Levels. Archived from the original on 3 April 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  16. ^ "Doll the Hotel Detective". JManga. Archived from the original on 15 May 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2016.

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