Thank you! Fujiko Fujio A.’s Relatives Reveal What He Looked Like in His Later Years | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Thank you! Fujiko Fujio A.’s Relatives Reveal What He Looked Like in His Later Years

In memoriam, Thank you for the dream! The words that saved Rie Shibata's life, the legend of a strong drinker that surprised the owner of his favorite sushi restaurant, and what his relatives saw of him in his later years

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A shot with Mr. Moriyama, owner of Hiro Sushi, taken in August ’20. Mr. Moriyama and the customers enjoyed chatting while ordering fin sake in the winter and oolong tea in the summer.

Another master has passed away.

Fujiko Fujio A. (real name: Abiko Motoo), a manga artist who created popular works such as “Kaibutsu-kun,” “Ninja Hattori-kun,” and “Manga-do,” passed away on April 7 at the age of 88.

Mr. A had a sociable personality and had many friends outside the publishing industry. TV personality Rie Shibata (63) was one of them.

I first met Mr. A about 30 years ago at a bar called “White” in Roppongi. It was at a bar called White in Roppongi. I was invited by actor Kaoru Kobayashi (70), and when I got there, there he was. I had been a big fan of his works since then, so I called him ‘Abiko-sensei,’ and he said, ‘You can call me Abi-chan. Since then, I have always called him ‘Abi-chan.

Shibata was still in his early 30s at the time. He was having a hard time getting his business going, but was encouraged by the words of Abi-chan, a senior colleague who also hailed from Toyama Prefecture.

He said, “If you are going to do something, do it to the hilt. If you’re going to do something, do it to the hilt, and do it seriously. Then he said to me, ‘I did it seriously. I researched and studied as hard as anyone else. If there is something you want to do, study it thoroughly. If you do that, you will be fine. Do your best. The three of us stayed up until midnight that day, whiskey in hand, talking about all sorts of things. It was a very expensive restaurant, but he bought me a drink (laughs). It was an unforgettable night.

Mr. Katsutoshi Moriyama, owner of the sushi restaurant Edomae Hirozushi, has been a friend of mine for 30 years.

I think it was two years ago when he came to my home. I was surprised when he happily told me that he had recently had drinks with Yosui Inoue (73) at a club in Roppongi and sang karaoke with him. On the other hand, even though he was a big name in his field, he would drink with younger customers who approached him without a hint of disapproval. He was just a friendly person.

Mr. A was also known as a great golf enthusiast. He used to play more than 15 rounds a month. Tetsuro Kuroda, manager of his favorite restaurant, Fukuda, says, “He used to play more than 15 rounds a month.

He was a member of the Tokyo Yomiuri Country Club, and it seemed to be a routine for him to come to our restaurant after golf to have a drink. He would drink from the evening until around 10 p.m., and then go out to Ginza or Roppongi. I never once saw him out of shape.

Takeshi Ebihara, his favorite pupil and known for works such as “Maicchingu Machiko sensei,” told us about his true face at work.

He was a cheerful and caring person at work. Whenever one of his assistants looked sick, he would ask, ‘Are you all right? Whenever an assistant looked sick, he would ask, ‘Are you all right? If he felt that a staff member was getting tired, he would enliven the conversation. He was sometimes so excited that Mr. F (Fujiko F. Fujio) had to move him to another room (laughs). After work, I was often invited for a drink, saying, ‘Come with me. He also took me to casinos in Hong Kong and Macau.

When I was starting out on my own as a cartoonist, my teacher told me, “Never turn down a job that comes your way. He told me, “No matter what kind of job you get, they need you, so you must never turn it down. I still cherish those words to this day.

Mr. A always appeared cheerful and energetic. Koichi Kikuchi, a nephew who serves as the chief priest at Kozenji Temple, Mr. A’s family home, reveals, “Mr. A celebrated his birthday in late March, but his relatives noticed something slightly strange.

Koichi Kikuchi, a nephew who serves as the head priest of Kouzenji, Mr. A’s family home, revealed, “In late March, I went to his home to celebrate his birthday. He seemed to be in good health, but I felt that he was somewhat quiet or lonely. In fact, he had been living alone since his wife entered a convalescent home three years ago due to illness. Last September, his golfing buddy, Mr. Takao Saito (84 years old), who was close to him in both public and private life, also passed away. Although he acted cheerfully, I think he must have felt lonely inside.

Since his debut in 1951 with “Tenshi no Tama-chan” (Tenshi no Tama-chan, Mainichi Newspapers), he continued to push forward on the “manga path” until “PAR Man no Jounetsu-teki Hibi” (Passionate Days of PAR Man, Shueisha) stopped publication in 2003. Since then, he has continued to push forward on the “manga path” until “PAR Man’s Passionate Days” (Shueisha) ceased publication in 2003. Neither his manga nor his other accomplishments have faded.

The farewell party for Ebihara-san (front row, second from right) held in 1975. The man in the center of the front row with sunglasses is Mr. Ⓐ, and the man in the back row on the left with a beret is Fujiko F. Fujio.
A commemorative photo with Fujio Akatsuka (center) and Yoshiro Kato (right) at the “Fujio Akatsuka Exhibition” in ’97. Mr. Akatsuka and I have been friends since we met at Tokiwaso in the 1950s.
This photo was taken at his workplace in 2006. In his later years, he took up rakugo (Japanese comic storytelling), and he never forgot to challenge himself until just before his death.

From the April 29, 2022 issue of FRIDAY

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