Yoshito Usui (臼井儀人, Usui Yoshito; 21 April 1958 ~ 11 Sep 2009) was a male manga artist best-known for the popular manga Crayon Shin-chan クレヨンしんちゃん. Born in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, he was educated in the city of Kasukabe in Saitama Prefecture, where he resided with his family before his death. Blood type B, real name is 臼井 義人 Usui Yoshito.
Upon graduating from Saitama Prefecture's Kasukabe Technical High School in 1977, he enrolled and dropped out of a design vocational school while working part-time. Thereafter, he worked in an advertising-related company.
In 1987, his debut manga だらくやストア物語 darakuya sutoa monogatari won the Newcomer Award in Futabasha's Weekly Manga Action publication.
Serialization of 'Crayon Shin-chan' started in August 1990, and was turned into an anime series from 1992. In 1993, the anime movie version of the series became a social phenomenon, and the series enjoyed a big boom as a result. Yoshito Usui not only appeared as a caeo in the movie, but also contributed the lyrics for the theme songs.
He visited Spain, Barcelona as part of the promotion for the tankobon volume of Crayon Shin-chan クレヨンしんちゃん in 2004. The TV series commenced airing with an episode that was penned in Barcelona in gratitude for the series' popularity in Spain, and thereafter Spain also started airing the series.
On the morning of 11 Sep 2009, Usui set off for Mount Arafune in 'Myougi Arafune Saku Kogen National Park' on a hiking trip, saying that he will be back on the same day. When he did not return by the next morning, his family filed a report with the Saitama Prefecture Police. On 19 Sep 2009, a climber discovered a male body that appeared to have fallen down approx. 120m from a cliff, and notified the Saku Fire Station. From the circumstances surrounding the scene, there were suspicions that the identity of the victim may be the missing person, the Shimonita Police Station commenced rescue operations but were unable to retrieve the body due to the precarious mountainous terrain. on 20 Sep 2009, the Gunma Prefecture police search party rushed to the site to assist, and the body was finally air-lifted to Shimonita Police Station. Up till then the police was cautious to advise that while it was suspected that the body might be the missing Usui, it was still not verified. However, by the evening of 20 Sep 2009, Usui's family and dental records have verified that the body found was indeed Usui. Coroner ascertained that he likely died on 11 Sep 2009 due to the crushing of lungs upon strong impact.
Though there were no previous falling incidents near the scene, the police nonetheless did not rule out the possibility of falling or suicide. From the digital camera retrieved from the site, police surmised that Usui may have slipped while trying to take a photo over the Tomoiwa cliff, as the last photo in the smashed camera indicated.
On 21 Sep 2009, publisher Futabasha announced during a press conference that manuscripts for the December issue of Manga Town have already been received and will go on sale on 5 Nov 2009. As to whether the TV series and the movies will continue Futabasha said they will discuss with the family and related parties.
- ↑ Translated from Japanese Wikipedia and extracted from Mainichi Daily News 20 Sep 2009.