LUPIN III's Monkey Punch Dies At Age of 81

Lupin III Vol. 1
Credit: Monkey Punch (TOKYOPOP)

Manga-ka Kazuhiko Kato (known professionally as Monkey Punch) died on April 11, 2019 at the age of 81 following a bout with pneumonia, according to Yahoo.

Best known for creating the series Lupin III, Kato debuted in manga with a story in 1965's Playboy School under the penname of Eiji Gamuta. Given the name "Monkey Punch" by an editor from the magazine, the writer/artist  q uickly came into his own in just two years with the 1967 debut of Lupin III in Weekly Manga Action.

Originally planned as merely a three-month series, Monkey Punch's Lupin III became a major hit, spinning out into five cartoons, several animated films, two live-action films, music alums, games, and even a musical. Monkey Punch himself direct the 1996 animated film Lupin III: Dead or Alive.

Throughout his career, Monkey Punch received numerous honors including an Inkpot Award, a ROMICS Gold Award, AMD Award Achievemnt Award, and a Tokyo Anime Award. Since 2012, his hometown of Hamanakacho has hosted an annual Lupin III festival.

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