Leiji Matsumoto Biography, Career, Age, Wife, Net Worth, Cause of Death, Wikipedia

Leiji Matsumoto Biography

(Died 13th February 2023)

Leiji Matsumoto, born Akira Matsumoto on January 25, 1938, was a renowned Japanese mangaka known for creating several popular anime and manga series. On February 13, 2023, he passed away. Interestingly, his wife Miyako Maki is also a mangaka.

Early life & Family Background

As the middle child of seven brothers, Matsumoto received a 35mm film projector from his father at a young age. Despite his country’s wartime conflict with the United States, Matsumoto used the projector to watch American cartoons, fueling his fascination with science fiction authors like Unno Juza and H. G. Wells. Eventually, at the age of 18, he relocated to Tokyo to pursue his passion as a mangaka.

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Space opera -How He Gained Popularity

Matsumoto gained immense popularity for his space operas, including Space Battleship Yamato and Galaxy Express 999, characterized by their unique and dark worlds and their depiction of noble heroes and beautiful heroines. His works were also known for exploring complex moral issues and occasionally featuring tragic storylines. Overall, the combination of noble characters, strikingly beautiful heroines, and thought-provoking themes became the defining features of Matsumoto’s signature style.

Career as a Manga Artist

Matsumoto began his career as a manga artist under his given name, Akira Matsumoto, in 1954 with the publication of Mitsubachi no bken in the magazine Manga Shnen. However, it wasn’t until 1971 that he achieved significant success with his work Otoko Oidon, which depicted the life of a young man preparing for university entrance examinations.

In 1972, Matsumoto created the mature-themed dark comedy Western seinen series Gun Frontier for the magazine Play Comic, which ran for a total of five years. At the same time, he also began writing a collection of short stories called Senjo Manga Series, which were all set during World War Two but had no connection to one another. These works subsequently gained notoriety under the title The Cockpit.

Matsumoto’s breakthrough came in 1974 when he was involved in the production of Space Battleship Yamato. He went on to create the incredibly successful series Space Pirate Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express 999 in 1977. In recognition of his work on Galaxy Express 999 and Senjo Manga Series, he was awarded the Shogakukan Manga Prize for shonen in 1978.

Matsumoto oversaw the production of a number of music videos for the French house act Daft Punk, set to music from the band’s album Discovery. These movies were issued end-to-end for the DVD release of Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem, resulting in the creation of an animated feature film of the complete duration.

In 1999, the downtown area of Tsuruga was adorned with approximately twenty-four bronze statues, each depicting characters and scenes from the television shows Space Battleship Yamato and Galaxy Express 999. Attached to the bottom of each statue is a plaque that provides background information about the figure and bears Matsumoto’s autograph.

Matsumoto collaborated with Yoshinobu Nishizaki on the production of Space Battleship Yamato, which he later loosely based a manga on. The Yamato also made cameo appearances in several of his works, including the Galaxy Express 999 manga. Matsumoto’s later work, Great Yamato, featuring an updated Yamato, had to be renamed Great Galaxy due to legal issues with Nishizaki.

As of 2009, Matsumoto and Nishizaki worked on independent anime projects featuring Space Battleship Yamato under certain conditions. However, since Nishizaki’s death in 2010, it is uncertain whether these restrictions will continue to apply.

In 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. The manga is a retelling of the original 1978 Space Pirate Captain Harlock manga and has been licensed in the U.S. by Seven Seas.

Matsumoto was also one of the ‘Frontier Ambassadors’ of Koriyama City (Fukushima Prefecture).


Matsumoto’s wife is Miyako Maki, a shjo manga artist best known for creating the popular doll Licca-chan, often described as the Japanese equivalent of Barbie.

Cause Of Death/How Did He Die?

Matsumoto’s health had been a concern since November 15, 2019, when he experienced severe respiratory problems and fell while attending an event in Turin, Italy, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Captain Harlock anime adaptation. As a result, the event was canceled, and he was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Upon admission, he was fitted with a breathing tube, but after two days, it was reported that he was no longer in immediate danger.

Sadly, on February 13, 2023, at the age of 85, Matsumoto passed away at a hospital in Tokyo from sudden heart failure. His death marked the end of a career that spanned several decades and brought joy to countless fans across the world. Matsumoto’s work has had a significant impact on the world of manga and anime and will continue to be remembered for generations to come.

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