Manga creator Kazuo Koike passed away on April 17, 2019 due to pneumonia. He was 82 years old at the time of his passing.
Koike was born on May 8, 1936 in Akita prefecture. In addition to creating stories for manga, Koike wrote novels; scripts for movies, television, and stage plays; and also wrote song lyrics. In 1972 he founded Studio Ship, which was later renamed as Koike Shoin Corporation. He established the Koike Gekiga Sonjuku training school for budding manga creators in 1977, and also worked as an instructor at the Osaka University of Arts starting in 2000.
Koike is best known for his and Goseki Kojima’s Lone Wolf and Cub samurai manga. First Comics premiered the manga in English in May 1987. The series was one of the first manga published in North America, and the first manga to be released in North America on a monthly schedule. Dark Horse Comics began releasing the series in 2000 as the first manga series to be published in North America straight to graphic novels that corresponded with the Japanese releases. In 2013, Dark Horse began releasing the series in omnibus format.
Koike’s other manga include Samurai Executioner, Crying Freeman, Lady Snowblood, Mad Bull 34, Mad Bull 2000, and New Lone Wolf & Cub. He also worked on the Golgo 13 manga’s story along with others. Koike and Miki Fujita ended their Koike Kazuo no Manga Juku manga in Akita Shoten’s Champion RED magazine in March 2018.