Japanese Manga Artist Who Depicted Horrors of WWII dies at 93

Participants wearing heroic fantasy costumes attend a festival dedicated to Japanese mangas, heroic fantasy characters and video games universes. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

TOKYO, Nov. 30 (Reuters) – An award-winning Japanese manga artist, whose retellings of traditional ghost stories and depictions of the horrors of World War Two helped propel anime to global popularity, died on Monday at the age of 93.

Shigeru Mizuki, a beloved household name in Japan, was an art student when he was drafted in 1942 and sent to fight in New Guinea, where he lost his left arm and witnessed scenes that haunted him for the rest of his life.

Debuting in 1957, Mizuki went on to write manga dealing with the U.S. wartime bombing, the abuse he and other military recruits suffered under their emperor-worshipping commanders during World War Two, and a biography of Adolf Hitler.

In 1979, he illustrated “The Darkness of the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor” about the lives of workers at the Fukushima nuclear plant that was crippled by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.

A 1991 piece in an educational magazine depicted wartime abuses committed by Japanese soldiers in China and Korea, including one scene where a soldier boasts of testing his new sword on “five or six” civilians.

But he was probably best known for “Ge-ge-ge no Kitaro,” a manga series about a young ghost boy fighting off a series of monsters based on Japanese folklore that was subsequently made into an animated series that ran for several years.

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