BIOGRAPHY

Akira Toriyama Biography: Dragon Ball Creator Lifestyle, Age, Wife, Height, Children, Net Worth, Family, Career and Cause of Death 2024

Akira Toriyama Biography: Dragon Ball Creator Lifestyle, Age, Wife, Height, Children, Net Worth, Family, Career and Cause of Death
Written by Ask AllBioHub

Akira Toriyama, born on April 5, 1955, and passing away on March 1, 2024, was a renowned Japanese manga artist and character designer.

He gained widespread acclaim for his creation of the beloved manga series Dr. Slump, followed by his iconic work, Dragon Ball.

Additionally, Toriyama contributed as a character designer for various well-known video games like the Dragon Quest series, Chrono Trigger, and Blue Dragon.

His impact on the manga industry is undeniable, with many artists citing Dragon Ball as a major source of inspiration.

Dr. Slump, a shōnen manga created by the talented artist, earned him the prestigious 1981 Shogakukan Manga Award. This remarkable work went on to captivate readers in Japan, selling over 35 million copies.

Also Check: Lee Jae-wook Biography: Age, Height, Wife, Net Worth, Family and Career

Its popularity soared even higher when it was adapted into a successful anime series, and later a second anime was created 13 years after the manga concluded.

However, it was his next creation, Dragon Ball, that truly skyrocketed him to global fame. This phenomenal manga series became one of the most beloved and successful in the world, with a staggering 260 million copies sold worldwide.

Dragon Ball played a significant role in the golden era of manga circulation during the mid-1980s and mid-1990s. Interestingly, the anime adaptations of Dragon Ball achieved even greater success overseas, contributing to the rise in popularity of anime in the Western world.

In recognition of his immense contributions to the arts, Toriyama was honored in 2019 as a Chevalier of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Born April 5, 1955

NagoyaAichi, Japan
Died March 1, 2024 (aged 68)
Occupation(s) Manga artistcharacter designermodel designer
Years active 1978–2024
Employer Shueisha
Notable work
Spouse
Yoshimi Katō

(m. 1982)

Children 2
Awards Shogakukan Manga Award (1981)

Early Life

Akira Toriyama was born in Nagoya, the capital city of Aichi prefecture in Japan. From a young age, he had a passion for drawing, particularly pictures of animals and vehicles.

His fascination with illustration grew after watching the movie One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), inspiring him to create artwork of similar quality.

In elementary school, Toriyama was amazed by his classmate’s older brother’s manga collection and the first television set he saw at a neighbor’s house. His interest in manga was sparked by Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy (1952-1968).

Toriyama recalled that during his elementary school years, all his classmates imitated anime and manga due to the limited entertainment options available. He believed that he stood out when he started drawing pictures of his friends.

However, in middle school, Toriyama took a break from manga as he became more engrossed in films and TV shows. He expressed his fondness for tokusatsu entertainment, particularly the Ultraman TV show and the Gamera series of kaiju films.

Toriyama’s passion for creative design led him to attend a high school focused on this field, although he admitted that he was more interested in having fun with friends. While he didn’t read much manga at the time, he occasionally created his own.

Despite his parents’ objections, Toriyama was determined to enter the workforce after graduating from high school instead of pursuing further education.

He worked at an advertising agency in Nagoya, where he designed posters for three years. Although he quickly adapted to the job, Toriyama often arrived late due to not being a morning person and was frequently reprimanded for his casual attire.

Eventually, he grew tired of the environment and decided to quit.

Personal Life

Toriyama tied the knot with Yoshimi Katō on May 2, 1982. She was a former manga artist from Nagoya known as “Nachi Mikami” and occasionally assisted Toriyama on Dr. Slump. The couple had two children: a son named Sasuke born on March 23, 1987, and a daughter born in October 1990.

Toriyama resided in his home studio in Kiyosu and was famously reclusive, rarely making public appearances. He used an avatar named “Robotoriyama” in manga and interviews.

Toriyama had a passion for cars and motorcycles, inherited from his father, and was an animal lover who kept various pets. He also had a love for plastic models and collected autographs of famous manga artists.

Toriyama passed away on March 1, 2024, at the age of 68 due to acute subdural hematoma. His death was officially announced by Bird Studio on March 8.

Career

Toriyama, at the age of 23, found himself in need of money after leaving his job. In an attempt to break into the manga industry, he submitted a work to an amateur contest in Kodansha’s Weekly Shōnen Magazine, which he had randomly come across in a coffee shop. Unfortunately, the timing was not right for that particular contest.

However, Toriyama discovered that Weekly Shōnen Jump accepted submissions for their Newcomer Award on a monthly basis.

Kazuhiko Torishima, who would later become his editor, read and enjoyed Toriyama’s manga. Although it was not eligible for competition as it was a parody of Star Wars rather than an original work, Torishima sent Toriyama a telegram, encouraging him to continue drawing and sending in his work.

This led to the creation of Wonder Island, which became Toriyama’s first published work in 1978. Unfortunately, it received the lowest ranking in the readers’ survey.

Toriyama had initially planned to quit manga after getting paid, but due to the failure of Wonder Island 2 in the same year, he stubbornly persisted and continued to draw unsuccessful stories for an entire year, producing around 500 pages of work, including the published Today’s Highlight Island in 1979.

Despite the lack of success, Toriyama stated that he learned a great deal during this period and even found some enjoyment in it. When Torishima suggested that he create a female lead character, Toriyama reluctantly created Tomato the Cutesy Gumshoe in 1979, which achieved some success.

Encouraged by this, he decided to create another female lead character and thus, Dr. Slump was born.

Dr. Slump, serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1980 to 1984, achieved great success, propelling Toriyama to fame. The story revolves around a quirky professor and his powerful robot Arale. Toriyama’s work earned him the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award in 1981 for best shōnen or shōjo manga series.

An anime adaptation aired in 1981 on Fuji TV’s prime time slot. Toriyama’s creations dominated this time slot for 18 years, including Dr. Slump, Dragon Ball, and its sequels. By 2008, the Dr. Slump manga had sold over 35 million copies in Japan.

Despite Dr. Slump’s popularity, Toriyama initially wanted to end the series after six months. However, Shueisha insisted he start a new serial shortly after. Toriyama collaborated with Torishima on various one-shots for Weekly Shōnen Jump and Fresh Jump.

He won first place in Weekly Shōnen Jump’s Reader’s Choice contest in 1981 with Pola & Roid. Toriyama participated in the contest again in 1982 with Mad Matic and published Pink in Fresh Jump. In 1983, he created Chobit and its sequel due to the first one’s lack of popularity.

In 1982, the official Toriyama fan club, Akira Toriyama Hozonkai, was established, sending newsletters called Bird Land Press to members until its closure in 1987. Toriyama also founded Bird Studio in the early 1980s, a clever play on his name meaning “bird.”

Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, a new manga series by Toriyama, was launched in the July 13, 2013, issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump to commemorate its 45th anniversary.

Just two days later, Viz Media began serializing it in English in their digital Weekly Shonen Jump magazine.

Interestingly, the final chapter of Jaco the Galactic Patrolman reveals that the story is actually set before the events of Dragon Ball and includes some of its beloved characters.

Following the success of Battle of Gods, the next film in the series, Resurrection ‘F’, was released on April 18, 2015.

Toriyama played a significant role in this film, personally writing its original script.

Additionally, Toriyama provided the basic story outline and character designs for Dragon Ball Super, which started serialization in V Jump in June 2015 and was accompanied by an anime adaptation in July.

Although the anime concluded in 2018, Toriyama continued to contribute story ideas for the manga, while Toyotarou took charge of the illustrations.

Toriyama’s involvement with the Dragon Ball films remained strong with the release of Dragon Ball Super: Broly on December 14, 2018, and Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero on June 11, 2022. These films showcased Toriyama’s deep connection and commitment to the franchise.

Works

In addition to his works on Dr. Slump and Dragon Ball, Toriyama continued to create manga, focusing on one-shots and shorter pieces ranging from 100 to 200 pages. Some notable examples include Cowa! (1997-1998), Kajika (1998), and Sand Land (2000).

He also collaborated with other manga artists, such as Eiichiro Oda and Masakazu Katsura, to create crossover shorts and one-shots.

Furthermore, Toriyama contributed his talent to various video games, designing characters for popular titles like the Dragon Quest series (1986-2024), Blue Dragon, Chrono Trigger, and several Dragon Ball video games.

Additionally, he lent his artistic skills to Shueisha, Japan’s largest publishing company, creating character designs and mascots for their various manga magazines.

Apart from his manga-related endeavors, Toriyama also showcased his artistic abilities through illustrations, album covers, book covers, mascots, and logos.

Net Worth

Akira Toriyama was one of the most influential and richest Shonen Manga artists.

According to a report by CBR, he has ruled over with a fortune of around $55 million, which he has now left behind for his bereaved wife and 2 children. Toriyama married Yoshimi Kato in 1982. She assisted him on his first comic Dr. Slump.

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