Leiji Matsumoto, renowned creator of the celebrated manga Captain Harlock, has been honored with the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres on October 23rd, 2012 for the series’ wide influence on French popular culture. The ceremony took place at the French Embassy in Tokyo.
Established in 1957, the “Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” recognizes luminaries across literature, film and music. Significant title holders include T.S. Eliot, Bob Dylan, Clint Eastwood, Takeshi Kitano, Emir Kusturica and Patti Smith.
Born in 1938, Mr. Leiji Matsumoto drew his first manga at the age of five. He began his career in 1954 with his comic strip Hachimitsu no Boken which earned him the Best New Writer prize for a long narrative, in the first Manga Shônen awards ceremony. His first success came in 1971 with Otoko Oidon, followed by Galaxy Express 999 which was adapted for television and film. His works recount a journey of discovery - or how "a man can grow up" – with space and science-fiction themes as a backdrop. The following year, he won the Kodansha Cultural Price, in the child manga category. A man’s fight against misery is what Matsumoto seems to develop as his favorite topic. His career launched, he published several hit titles: “Gun Frontier” (1972), “Space Battleship Yamato” (1974), “The Cockpit” (1975), “Space Pirate Captain Harlock” (1977), “Galaxy Express 999” (1977), “Danguard A” (1977), “Queen Emeraldas” (1978).
Reputed for his sci-fi tales, he similarly ventured into many other genres: comic strips about animals, war stories or shôjo manga, for young girls. Executive Director of the JCA (Japan Cartoonists Association), Mr. Matsumoto heads up their copyright department and has a seat on the Takarazuka University of Fine Arts' council. Meanwhile his work on the French group Daft Punk's music videos helped him to reach a worldwide audience.
Leiji Matsumoto is also taking part in the upcoming Captain Harlock remake project. For this new movie, “SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HARLOCK” (to be released in 2013), the latest techniques and the most talented artists in the world worked together in Japan, to offer both the new and the former generations the best of today’s animation! A new chapter of Leiji Matsumoto’s legend is about to be written!