Written by Jade Ruston


Long time influencer to the music duo Daft Punk and famous for the anti war theme anime works of ‘Space Battleship Yamato, Galaxy Express 999, and Space Pirate Captain Herlock, Tokyo born Akira (Leiji) Matsumoto has left a hollow but warm spot in the hearts of many who are learning of his passing on feb 13th 2023 due to heart failure.  

Matsumoto began drawing at age 6 and rose to fame in the 70’s when his magna works were adapted into tv anime and broadcast worldwide, most containing anti war tones or depicting the tragedies that come as a consequence.

He received multiple cultural and arts awards from the Japanese government including a number of bronze statues of his characters around the city of Tsuruga in 1999. as well as The Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters from France. Now on a journey to the “sea of stars” we can only hope that it’s somewhere beautiful and that his messages of peace continue to ripple down for many years to come.

Along with his famous collaboration with the French duo Daft Punk for the music video ‘One More Time’, they also created the film Interstella 5555 which Pen Online, a Japanese publication at the time described as “A cult hit before it even came out”. 

When Matsumoto was a young boy, his father was a high ranking army pilot who upon coming home from Southeast Asia, strictly and lovingly embedded in Matsumoto that war should simply never be fought after having returned home without living members of his team, and shared that “One has to be a demon to not think that an enemy has a family” and that nobody wins in war.”

In a 2018 interview with Japan’s NHK Television, Matsumoto shared “ “War destroys your future,” noting that many talented youths who might have contributed to “the civilization of mankind” were killed during war.

“I was told by my father that any life is born in order to live, not to die, I think we should not be wasting time fighting on the Earth.”


Zack Davisson, a Californian writer who has translated a lot of Matsumoto’s work, said on Twitter that the world has lost an “absolute giant”.

He added that Matsumoto’s depiction of emotionally vulnerable boys and young men showed it was ok to have feelings: “Star Blazers and Galaxy Express was a gut-punch. People… died. People… cried. People… fell in love.”

“There was an immense sadness in his works, a grandeur nowhere else seen. All wrapped in powerful visuals that were equally mythological and futuristic,” Mr Davisson said.



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