Submariner 8823

Toyoharu Yoshida (吉田豊治) is a Japanese manga artist, best known as the youngest brother of Tatsuo Yoshida (1932-1977) and Kenji Yoshida (1935). Together they created various manga which were later adapted into anime TV series by their own company Tatsunoko, including their best known work 'Mahha GōGōGō' ('マッハGoGoGo', 'Speed Racer', 1966-1968) and 'Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman' ('科学忍者隊ガッチャマン', 'Science Ninja Team Gatchaman', 1972-1974), better known under its American translation, 'Battle of the Planets'. Of all manga Yoshida created personally '紅三四郎'('Kurenai Sanshiro', translated in the West as 'Judo Boy', 1961-1962) is the best known and most popular. Toyoharu Yoshida is also known under the pen name Ippei Kuri.

Toyoharu Yoshida was born in Kyoto in 1940. After Japan's defeat in World War II, American troops temporarily occupied the country. Some soldiers brought comics with them, which brought Yoshida and his brothers Tatsuo (1932) and Kenji (1935) in contact with Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's 'Superman'.They were fascinated by the dynamic, action-packed stories as much as they liked Walt Disney. Tatsuo dreamed of becoming a comics artist and thus travelled to the national comics centre: Tokyo. In 1954 he struck unexpected success with the wrestling comic 'Iron Arm Rikya' (1954), scripted by Ikki Kajiwara. As he started creating more comics he asked his brothers to come over and join him. Toyoharu, who was still in high school at the time, left before even graduating. Once in Tokyo the brothers divided their business tasks. Kenji became business manager of the enterprise while Toyoharu became assistant of Tatsuo.


Kurenai Sanshiro, artwork by Tatsuo Yoshida

By helping his brothers out Toyoharu managed to become a succesful manga artist in his own right, publishing under the name Ippei Kuri. His first comic was 'Abare Tengu' ('あばれ天狗', 1959) published in the magazine Z-Boy. Together with Minoru Kume Yoshida, he created 'Mach Sanshirō' ('マッハ三四郎', 1962-1964) which was published in Weekly Shōnen Sunday (週刊少年サンデー). Yet his most well known work is 'Kurenai Sanshiro' ('紅三四郎', translated in the West as 'Judo Boy', 1961-1962), which he co-wrote with Yutaka Arai, while his brother provided the illustrations. The plot revolves around a martial artist named Sanshiro who holds a black belt in judo. Together with young orphan Kenbo and his dog Boke Sanshiro searches for the man who murdered his father. The manga was pre-published in Weekly Shōnen Sunday and Weekly Shōnen Jump (週刊少年ジャンプ).


Bullet Boy

Most of Ippei Kuri's other manga were eithers sports serials or sci-fi/fantasy series. The baseball comic 'Danganji' ('弾丸児', a.k.a. 'Bullet Boy') ran in Weekly Shonen Sunday (1967-1968). His sci-fi work includes 'Kaiteijin Hayabusa' ('海底人8823', a.k.a. 'Submariner 8823'), 'Kaiyō Shōnentai' ('海洋少年隊', a.k.a. 'Underwater Boys' Team') and 'Kurayami Dōshin Tsubanari Kenshirō Onryōkiri' ('暗闇同心 鍔鳴剣屍郎 怨霊斬り', a.k.a. Çoncentrated Darkness: Tsubanari Kenshirō, Ghost Killer'). Among his other creations are 'Ōzora no Chikai' ('大空のちかい', a.k.a. 'Heaven's Oath') in Weekly Shônen Sunday (1962-1964), 'Faitā Ken' ('ファイター健', a.k.a. 'Fighter Ken') and 'Arā no Chikai' ('アラーの誓い', a.k.a. 'Oath of Allah'). Ippei Kuri was furthermore responsible for a manga adaptation of the Japanese TV series 'Messenger of Allah' (1960), which was serialized in Adventure King (冒険王/Bouken Ou) magazine.

On 19 October 1962 the Yoshida brothers founded the Tatsunoko Productions company, inspired by the success of Osamu Tezuka's cartoons. Yoshida kept drawing manga, but gradually got more involved with production, direction, designs and storyboards. Among the many manga they adapted into anime series was Tatsuo's own 'Judo Boy' in 1969. To cash in on the TV adaptation, Tatsuo and Toyoharu created a whole new series of short stories starring the main characters of 'Judo Boy'. This time Sanshiro travels to the American West on a motorcycle while he has a series of heroic battle against injustice. In 1977, after Tatsuo Yoshida unexpectedly died of liver failure, Toyoharu became managing director of their company. Ten years later, when his brother Kenji retired, Toyoharu became president. He carried this function until 2005, when Tatsunoko became a subsidiary of toy company Takara. Ippei Kuri is also a guest professor at the Kyoto University of Arts and Crafts.


Kenji Yoshida, Tatsuo Yoshida, Tatsuo's wife and Ippei Kuri

Series and books by Ippei Kuri in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

X

If you want to help us continue and improve our ever- expanding database, we would appreciate your donation through Paypal.