Ippei Kuri, Former President of Anime Powerhouse Tatsunoko Production, Dies at 83

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Characters from popular TV anime created by Tatsunoko Production Co. are seen at the entrance of the company’s head office in Musashino, Tokyo.

Ippei Kuri, the former president of animation powerhouse Tatsunoko Production Co. that gave the world such popular series as “Gatchaman” and “Speed Racer,” has died, according to the company’s website. He was 83.

The announcement dated Wednesday said Kuri, whose real name was Toyoharu Yoshida, died on July 1. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Kuri made his debut as a manga artist in 1959, drawing many works for manga magazines for boys in the 1960s. In 1962, he and his two brothers founded Tatsunoko Production, and he became more involved in anime.

Kuri worked extensively for the company’s anime productions, not only as an artist but also as a producer and director. He was involved in many of the company’s popular works, which also included “The Adventures of Hutch, the Honey Bee,” “Casshan” and “Time-Bokan Series.”

“On July 1, Toyoharu Yoshida (artist name Ippei Kuri), our company’s former president and the second younger brother of our founder Tatsuo Yoshida, passed away at the age of 83,” the announcement read.

“We would like to inform you of his passing and thank you for the goodwill he received during his lifetime. A funeral service was held on July 10 attended by his family and those close to him. We firmly decline any condolence money or gift.”