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HONG KONG — Yoshito Usui, the Japanese manga artist responsible for the widely exported “Crayon Shin-chan” series, was found dead last weekend after an apparent hiking accident.
Usui, 51, was reported missing while hiking alone in mountains north of Tokyo. Police and family on Sunday confirmed that a body later found by another hiker was that of Usui. Police said there were no indications of suicide or foul play and that indications point to an accidental fall.
At a news conference it was revealed that police had found Usui’s broken digital camera and that its memory card contained a photograph looking down a particularly steep cliff. “Usui apparently took that one last shot and then slipped and fell,” an official from Futabasha Publishing said. “We are completely shocked with this consequence.”
Usui made his manga debut in 1987 and achieved prominence with the “Crayon Shi-chan” series, which followed the classic route and became a book, a TV series and then a string of movies. The series was translated into 14 languages and sold in more than 30 territories.
“Crayon” features the daily life of Shinnosuke, a mischievous 5-year-old boy. Shinnosuke was notorious for dropping his trousers and shaking his hips, characteristics that for a while caused parent-teacher associations to blacklist the series.
Shinnosuke’s outgoing good humor might have stood in contrast with his creator. Usui reportedly lived a quiet life bordering on reclusiveness with his wife and two daughters.
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