Shinji Mizushima, the creator of such seminal baseball manga as Dokaben, Abu-san, and Yakȳu-Kyō no Uta, passed away on January 10, 2022 at a Tokyo hospital due to pneumonia. He was 82 years old at the time of his passing. He had been reportedly under medical treatment for an unspecified illness.
Mizushima was born on April 10, 1939 in Niigata prefecture, and he made his debut as a professional manga creator at the age of 18 in 1958. He retired from making manga on December 1, 2020. He stated at the time, “I have been working hard for 63 years up until today, but now I have decided to retire. I pray from the bottom of my heart for continued growth in the worlds of manga and baseball.”
Mizushima launched his Dokaben manga about a high school baseball club in 1972 in Akita Shoten’s Weekly Shōnen Champion magazine. The manga inspired a 163-episode anime and a live-action film.
Mizushima followed the manga with the sequel Dai Koshien, which also features characters from Mizushima’s other manga. The next sequels to debut were Dokaben Pro Yakyu-hen, Dokaben Superstars-hen, and Dokaben: Dream Tournament-hen. Dokaben: Dream Tournament-hen, the final arc, began in 2012. The Dokaben: Dream Tournament-hen manga ended in Weekly Shōnen Champion magazine in June 2018. It was the final chapter for the overall Dokaben series, 46 years after the series’ debut.
He also published a one shot story to his Abu-san series in Shogakukan’s Big Comic Original magazine in 2018 as his final work.
Mizushima received the Japanese government’s Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette award for contributions to entertainment and culture in 2014.