Shogakukan announced on Wednesday that Golgo 13 manga creator Takao Saito passed away on September 24 from pancreatic cancer. He was 84.
Saito was born in Wakayama in November 1936. He debuted with the Kūki Danshaku manga in 1955. He also published the Sagashiya hage Taka Tōjō!! manga in 1968 before launching Golgo 13 later that same year.
Golgo 13 won the 21st Shogakukan Manga Award, a Japan Cartoonists Association Grand Prize award, and the special judge’s award at the 50th Shogakukan Manga Awards. Saito was awarded the Medal of Honor With Purple Ribbon in 2003, and the Order of Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays With Rosette in 2010. Golgo 13 celebrated its 50th year of serialization in 2018, and Saito celebrated his 65th year as a manga creator in 2020.
Shogakukan announced that Saito had said before his death that he wanted the manga to continue on without him, and the Saito Production group of artists will continue on the work with the assistance of the editorial department of Shogakukan‘s Big Comic magazine and an additional scriptwriting staff. Saito Production launched the first-ever spinoff manga for the franchise on July 17.
Golgo 13, centering on the titular legendary hitman, is the oldest manga still in publication.
The manga recently tied with Osamu Akimoto‘s Kochira Katsushika-ku Kamearikouen-mae Hashutsujo (“Kochikame“) police comedy manga for the Guinness World Record for “most volumes published for a single manga series,” both with 200 volumes as of April 5. However, Golgo 13 has since surpassed the record, publishing a 201st volume on July 5 and a 202nd volume on September 6.
Viz Media published 13 volumes of the manga in North America between 2006 and 2008. The story inspired two live-action films in 1973 and 1977, a 1983 anime film, a 1998 Golgo 13: Queen Bee original video anime, and a 2008-2009 television anime series.