Netizens mourn passing of 'Dragon Ball' creator Akira Toriyama
Published: Mar 08, 2024 11:37 PM
This photo shows books from the popular Dragon Ball series on a shelf at a store in downtown Tokyo on March 8, 2024. Photo: VCG

This photo shows books from the popular Dragon Ball series on a shelf at a store in downtown Tokyo on March 8, 2024. Photo: VCG

Manga fans worldwide expressed deep sadness after media reported on Friday that Japanese manga comic creator Akira Toriyama, best known for his Dragon Ball series, died at the age of 68 on March 1. Some Chinese netizens said that his works are their fond childhood memories, while others expressed a hope that dragon balls really exist so they could collect all seven and bring the master back.

Toriyama's production studio confirmed on Friday that the Japanese manga artist died on March 1 from an acute subdural haematoma, and that he still had several works in the middle of creation with great enthusiasm. "We hope that Akira Toriyama's unique world of creation continues to be loved by everyone for a long time to come," the studio wrote in a statement.

According to media reports, Akira Toriyama was born in Japan in 1955 and rose to fame with the creation of Dragon Ball in 1984. This iconic series has since been adapted into movies, video games, and TV series distributed in more than 80 countries. Toriyama's work on Dragon Ball earned him international acclaim and established him as one of Japan's highest-selling manga authors.

Toriyama's unexpected passing led to an outpouring of heartfelt sorrow and condolences from all over the world.

At a regular press conference on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning expressed deep condolences over the passing of Akira Toriyama and sincere sympathies to his family. "Mr Toriyama is a renowned manga artist, whose works are popular in China. We hope and believe that more people with vision in Japan will make active contributions to the cultural exchange and friendship between China and Japan," Mao said.

The Embassy of Japan in China said on its official Weibo account on Friday that it deeply regrets the passing of Akira Toriyama, and expressed heartfelt condolences over his death. Toriyama's classic works, including the Dragon Ball series, are a shared memory for generations of people both in Japan and China, the embassy wrote.

Chinese action movie superstar Jackie Chan posted a photo of himself with Toriyama on Weibo to express his condolences. "Mr Akira Toriyama, thank you for creating so many classic works, they will be with the world forever," he wrote. According to media reports, Toriyama was a big fan of Jackie Chan, and had repeatedly stated in interviews that without Drunken Master, a Hong Kong kung fu comedy film starring Jackie Chan, there would be no Dragon Ball.

Several famous manga artists in Japan also mourned Toriyama's passing, including Eiichiro Oda, the creator of the series One Piece.

Toriyama's masterpiece Dragon Ball draws on the story of Chinese classic Journey to the West as its background. In 2018, Dragon Ball had a worldwide cumulative circulation of over 250 million copies, which was recognized by Guinness World Records as the manga with the most adaptations into games worldwide, media reported.

For many Chinese born in the 1970s, 1980s, and even 1990s, Dragon Ball is a cherished childhood memory, with many netizens mourning the artist and sharing their unique memories of this highly acclaimed manga on social media platforms.

"Dragon Ball is the only long-running serialized manga that I have read in its entirety. I vividly recall the moment when I first delved into its pages - it was a weekend during my elementary school years. I borrowed several volumes from the library and spent the entire weekend engrossed in the story. I remember my butt feeling sore from sitting for so long, but the joy of reading was so immense that I lost track of time," a netizen wrote on Weibo.

Some netizens also said that Dragon Ball is the best gift that this comic creator left the world, while others said that Toriyama will always be the greatest manga artist in their hearts. The strong sadness and grief for this deceased cartoonist who brought many netizens childhood memories are emerging online.

"I truly hope that dragon balls do exist so I can collect all seven and bring Mr Akira Toriyama back, but deep down I know it's an impossible wish. Although there are no dragon balls in the real world that can bring people back to life, the legacy of the Dragon Ball series will undoubtedly endure, bringing a profound impact on countless comic artists and fans for generations to come," another netizen wrote.

Global Times