Akira Toriyama

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Akira Toriyama is a Japanese ‘Mangaka’ or a manga artist (Manga is a comic created in Japan or in the Japanese language, drawn in a specific late 19th-century Japanese style). Dragon Ball is one of the most renowned and successful manga in the world, for which he is best known. He is a renowned character designer for video games, having worked on the ‘Dragon Quest series and ‘Blue Dragon,’ among others. Having been raised in Japan, he developed a fondness for manga during his academic years. After a few years in the advertising industry, he left to pursue a career as a manga illustrator. When his comedy series ‘Dr. Slump’ garnered widespread acclaim, and he attained true renown, following the publication of his first few mangas. This was followed by his even greater success with the series ‘Dragon Ball’. His manga has sold millions of copies worldwide, and both have been adapted into anime. He created shorter manga and one-shots later on. In recognition of his superb art, he was awarded prestigious prizes. He is married to Yoshimi Kato, and the couple has two children: a son and a daughter.

Youth and Early Life

Toriyama was born on April 5, 1955, in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. His father owned an auto maintenance shop and participated in motorcycle racing. Toriyama inherited his father’s passion for automobiles and motorcycles. As there were no entertainment options available during his elementary school years, all of his classmates attempted to illustrate anime and manga. He also followed the trend, and his submission of “101 Dalmatians” won him a prize at the local art studio. Thus, he became intrigued by this endeavor.

In 1974, he enrolled in high school to pursue art with a concentration in publicity. However, he departed in 1977 to enroll in ‘cartoon drawing’ classes. Then he began designing advertisements for a Nagoya-based advertising firm. He worked for three years before deciding to become a manga artist.

Akira toriyama’s Career

He entered his manga into a Jump magazine amateur contest. Even though he did not win, his work was noticed and admired by Kazuhiko Torishima, who later served as the manga’s editor. Toriyama made his début in the manga industry in 1978 with the publication of “Wonder Island” in “Weekly Shonen Jump.” 1979 saw the creation of his next manga, ‘Highlight Island.’

Dr. Slump, his 1980s comedy series, brought him much acclaim and notoriety. The series was published in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1980 to 1984. The narrative depicts the adventures of a professor and his automaton, ‘Arale.’ In 1981, this manga earned him the Shogakukan Manga Award. In Japan, more than 35 million copies of ‘Dr. Slumps’ have been sold. It was adapted into a highly successful anime series that broadcast from 1981 to 1986. The remake series aired between 1997 and 1999.

In 1984, Toriyama’s manga series ‘Dragon Ball’ was first published in ‘Weekly Shonen Jump’, where it promptly rose to prominence and fame. It has sold over 156 million copies in Japan alone and is considered the most influential Shonen manga. It increased the magazine’s 1995 circulation to 6.53 million.

‘Dragon Ball’ began as an adventure manga before transforming into a martial arts series. From 1984 to 1995, it operated successfully for a total of 11 years. Toriyama produced a total of 519 chapters, which were compiled into 42 volumes.

This immensely popular manga series was adapted into five anime, numerous animated films, and video games. (2 of these 5 anime were not based on the manga, but Toriyama himself had designed the characters.)
Not only was ‘Dragon Ball popular in Japan, but also in Europe and North America. Worldwide, 240 million copies of the manga were sold.

In 1986, video game designer and creator Yuji Horii contacted Toriyama regarding character design and artwork for ‘Dragon Quest.’ This game introduced computerized role-playing games (RPGs) to the Japanese mainstream market. Toriyama has designed characters for a number of other video game franchises, including ‘Dragon Warrior,’ ‘Super Famicom,’ ‘Chrono Trigger,’ and the ‘Tobal series. However, his most significant contribution to the world of video games is the design of characters for the renowned role-playing game series Dragon Quest.

After completing the ‘Dragon Ball series, Toriyama created a number of shorter manga, including ‘Cowa!,’ ‘Kajika,’ and ‘Sand Land.’ The North American variant of ‘Weekly Shonen Jump,’ ‘Shonen Jump,’ was introduced in December 2002 in New York City.

The American magazine included Toriyama’s ‘Dragon Bull’ and ‘Sand Land’ as well as his interview. In March 2005, ‘CQ Motors began marketing Toriyama’s one-person electric vehicle (QVOLT), which he designed. He spent one year designing this automobile.

In 2006, he co-created the one-shot ‘Cross-Epoch’ with Elichiro Oda, who is best known for the manga ‘One Piece.’ It is a crossover featuring characters from both ‘Dragon Ball’ and ‘One Piece.’ In 2008, Toriyama and his companion Masakazu Katsura created the Jump SQ one-shot ‘Sachie-Chan Good!! ‘, and in 2009, they created ‘Jiya’ for ‘Weekly Young Jump’.

In 2009, Toriyama created the manga ‘Delicious Island’s Mr. U’ for the non-profit Anj environmental organization. This manga taught children the significance of nature and agriculture. Working with “Shonen Jump,” he produced a video to solicit aid for the victims of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

The first film in the franchise, “Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods,” was released on March 30, 2013. Toriyama was responsible for both the animation and screenwriting. He also worked on its April 18, 2015-released sequel, ‘Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’.

To commemorate the 45th anniversary of ‘Weekly Shonen Jump,’ he debuted the new series ‘Jaco, the Galactic Patrolman’ in July 2013. At some point (around 2014), he grew weary of drawing manga with nonstop violent battles, but he was always fascinated by the interactions between minor characters. He began working on ‘Dragon Ball Super anime and manga in 2015.

Toriyama cites the illustrator Osamu Tezuka, Walt Disney’s “101 Dalmatians,” and Jackie Chan’s film “Drunken Master” as sources of inspiration for his manga “Dragon Ball.” The name of his studio, “Bird Studio,” is derived from his Japanese name, “Tori,” which means “bird.” He performs all of the creative work on his own, occasionally relying on an assistant for the backgrounds.

Awards & Achievements

His manga ‘Dr. Slump’ won the ‘Shogakukan Manga Award’ for ‘Best Shnen or Shja Manga Series of the Year’ in 1981. 2013 saw the presentation of the ‘Prix Special 40th Anniversary Festival Award’ to him at the ‘Angoulme International Comics Festival’ in France.

The exhibition “Akira Toriyama: The World of Dragon Ball” debuted in March 2013 at the Takashimaya Department Store in Nihonbashi. The exhibit, comprised of seven distinct sections, attracted tens of thousands of visitors. It continued its journey to Osaka and Nagoya.

Akira’s Personal Life

Toriyama and Yoshimi Kato were married on May 2, 1982. Previously, she was a manga illustrator under the pen name “Nachi Mikami.” Infrequently, she assisted Toriyama with his manga work. Their children were born in March 1987 and October 1990, respectively. Since his infancy, he has had numerous pets as he is an animal lover. He has created a large number of plastic models for the ‘Fine Molds brand.

Estimated Net Worth

The net worth of Japanese game and manga artist Akira Toriyama is $45 million. Akira Toriyama was born in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan on April 5, 1955. Prior to becoming a manga illustrator, he spent three years in the advertising industry. In 1978, his first manga, titled “Wonder Island,” was published.