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Takaharu Kusunoki

Biography | Takaharu Kusunoki

Biography | Takaharu Kusunoki

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Takaji Kusunoki a.k.a. Takaharu Kusunoki (1936-2014) started as a mangaka in 1955 and soon became the #1 assistant to Jiro Kuwata. He was responsible for producing the main animation for the anime of "8 Man", he took over drawing Gekko Kamen (Moonlight Mask) for the Shõnen Club editions and perfected his style until he was in charge of the manga version of the 1966 masterpiece 'Yusei Kamen'

>> With the sharp pen touch of his master, Jiro Kuwata , he beautifully depicts a futuristic world that highlights his unique science fiction perspective. [Yusei Kamen] <<

After 'Yusei Kamen' he didn't draw manga for shõnen magazines anymore!
The workload, the success and being in the spotlight made him resent his work! He turned down several big job offers by Shueisha, and he wandered around the country for a while, leaving his family behind, only occasionally visiting when he wanted to see his child's face. (reference; 1987 interview)

Eventually, with the need to provide for his family, he worked as an independent in the Anime production "Yokai Ningen Bem" (Humanoid Monster Bem) [1968-69] - He also joined the "Daiichi Douga" company but he quit after just one day
At one point, he tried his hand at adult manga (hentai), but stopped because his children were watching him.

In the period of 1977-78, he traveled alone to San Francisco, to start a business and to spread Osamu Tezuka's manga in the United States but that failed and he returned home. Due to his poor nutrition during his stay in the US, he developed cataract that lead to a decrease in vision of his eyes
After that, someone introduced him to 'Gakken publishing' and he ended up working on their 'educational manga'. Although frowned upon by many, this actually contains some remarkable gems on Japanese history

In August 1988, his oldest son passed away and Kusunoki -San never really recovered from this loss! Soon after he quit manga ...
Between 1990 and 1993, Apple Box, published 5 volumes of Yusei Kamen containing some of his best work.

His list of Manga is impressive;
Crimson Zero Sentai (1957), Hajiki bastard, Devilish Boy (Shonen 1959), Moonlight Mask (Shonen Club 1960-61), Speed Boy (1961), Shirobai Boy (1960-62), Lightning Man, Whirlwind Jiro, Fearful Mummy, Atomic Goro (Bokura 1963), 8 Man [final episode (1965)], Mutant Island, Planet Mask...

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