Takehiko Inoue

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Takehiko Inoue
Inoue in Tokyo, 2024
BornTakehiko Nariai
(1967-01-12) 12 January 1967 (age 57)
Ōkuchi, Japan
Area(s)Manga artist
Notable works
Slam Dunk
AwardsTezuka Award (1988)
Shogakukan Manga Award (1995)
Kodansha Manga Award (2000)
Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize (2002)

Takehiko Inoue (井上 雄彦, Inoue Takehiko, born 12 January 1967) is a Japanese manga artist. He is best known for the basketball series Slam Dunk (1990–1996), and the jidaigeki manga Vagabond, which are two of the best-selling manga series in history. Many of his works are about basketball, Inoue himself being a huge fan of the sport. His works sold in North America through Viz Media are Slam Dunk, Vagabond and Real, although Slam Dunk was earlier translated by Gutsoon! Entertainment. In 2012, Inoue became the first recipient of the Cultural Prize at the Asia Cosmopolitan Awards.

Early life and education[edit]

Inoue was born in Isa, Kagoshima, and was fond of drawing since he was a child. During elementary and junior high school, Inoue joined the kendo and basketball clubs, becoming captain of the latter. In his third year at Kagoshima Prefectural Oguchi High School, Inoue took a summer course at an art preparatory school with the plan of enrolling into an art university, but such schools were too expensive so he ended up going to Kumamoto University near his hometown.[1] There he majored in literature. His submission to Weekly Shōnen Jump caught the attention of editor Taizo Nakamura and, at the age of 20, Inoue dropped out of college to move to Tokyo and pursue a career as a manga artist.[2]


Before his debut, Inoue was an assistant to Tsukasa Hojo on City Hunter. He made his debut in 1988, when Purple Kaede (楓パープル) appeared in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine. It won the 35th annual Tezuka Award. His first serialization was in 1989 with Chameleon Jail, for which he was the illustrator of a story written by Kazuhiko Watanabe.

Inoue's first real fame came with his next manga, Slam Dunk, about a basketball team from Shohoku High School. It was published in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1990 to 1996 and has sold over 170 million copies worldwide.[3] In 1995 it received the 40th annual Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen manga and in 2007 was declared Japan's favorite manga.[4] Slam Dunk was adapted into a 101 episode anime television series and four films. The manga's popularity caused a surge of interest in basketball among Japanese youth,[5] leading to Inoue and his publisher Shueisha creating the Slam Dunk Scholarship program in 2006[6] and Inoue receiving commendation from the Japan Basketball Association for helping popularize basketball in the country.[7]

Inoue launched Buzzer Beater as an online comic in May 1996 on the Sports-i ESPN website (now J Sports).[8] It is about a basketball team from Earth that attempts to compete on the intergalactic level, it appears on his official website in four languages: Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean. Buzzer Beater was produced into a 13 episode anime series in 2005. In 2007, a second 13 episode series was produced. Both seasons were animated by TMS Entertainment.

Vagabond was Inoue's next manga, adapted from the fictionalized accounts by Eiji Yoshikawa of the samurai Miyamoto Musashi, which he began drawing in 1998. The series won the Kodansha Manga Award for General manga in 2000[9] and the Grand Prize of the 6th Osamu Tezuka Culture Awards in 2002,[10] receiving his award alongside fellow mangaka, Kentaro Miura.[11]

While still working on Vagabond, Inoue began drawing Real in 1999, his third basketball manga, which focuses on wheelchair basketball. It received an Excellence Prize at the 2001 Japan Media Arts Festival. Inoue also created character designs for the Xbox 360 RPG, Lost Odyssey, based on initial material provided by Hironobu Sakaguchi.[12] Sakaguchi sought out Inoue for his talent of depicting "people" and his ability to "illustrate the internal emotions of a character" since the goal of the video game was to explain people.[13]

In March 2011, Inoue painted large images of the Buddhist leader Shinran on twelve folding screens for display at the East Hongan Temple in Kyoto. The paintings include Shinran and Hōnen wading through water with a group of followers and an image Shinran with a bird.[14]

In 2013, Inoue published an illustrated travel memoir on the life and architecture of Antoni Gaudí titled Pepita: Takehiko Inoue Meets Gaudí, detailing his thoughts and travels in Catalonia.[15][16]

In 2013, Takehiko Inoue has been appointed by the Japanese Foreign Ministry to serve as an ambassador to celebrate Japan and Spain 400 years of goodwill until July 31, 2014.[17]

In 2022, Inoue made his directorial debut with the anime film adaptation of his Slam Dunk manga, titled The First Slam Dunk. Inoue also wrote the screenplay and story for the film.[18] In 2024, he received the Best Director and Best Screenplay award for his work at the Tokyo Anime Award Festival.[19]


Serialized manga[edit]



  1. ^ Lehman, Timothy (2005). Manga: Masters of the Art. New York: Collins Design. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-06-083331-2.
  2. ^ "漫画家 井上雄彦(いのうえ・たけひこ)さん(3/3)". 朝日新聞 DO楽. 9 May 2009. Archived from the original on 28 March 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  3. ^ 6000万部突破、1年で約4倍 新刊18巻の書影初公開". (in Japanese). Sankei. 6 August 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  4. ^ 小学館漫画賞: 歴代受賞者 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  5. ^ "スポーツとメディアの関係性 (Relation between sports and media)". students of Rikkyo University. Archived from the original on 3 July 2006.
  6. ^ "First Slam Dunk Basketball Scholarship Awarded". Anime News Network. 3 October 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  7. ^ "Japan Basketball Association Awards Slam Dunk's Inoue". Anime News Network. 9 June 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Works". itplanning.co.jp. Archived from the original on 23 May 2020. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  9. ^ Joel Hahn. "Kodansha Manga Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on 16 August 2007. Retrieved 21 August 2007.
  10. ^ "2002 (6th) Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prizes". The Hahn Library. Archived from the original on 30 December 2007.
  11. ^ 第6回 マンガ優秀賞 三浦建太郎 『ベルセルク』 [Sixth award for excellence in manga, Kentaro Miura's "Berserk"] (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 16 October 2018. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  12. ^ 坂口博信、本格発進!. Famitsu Weekly (in Japanese). No. 980. Enterbrain. 15 September 2006.
  13. ^ "Lost Odyssey Post-Release Interview". IGN. 14 February 2008. Archived from the original on 16 January 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  14. ^ Stimson, Eric (1 November 2015). "Slam Dunk's Takehiko Inoue's Buddhist Folding Screen on Display". animenewsnetwork.com. Anime News Network. Retrieved 18 May 2023.
  15. ^ Inoue, Takehiko (2013). Pepita: Takehiko Inoue Meets Gaudi.
  16. ^ "East Meets West in a Captivating New Art Book as Viz Media Releases Pepita: Takehiko Inoue Meets Gaudí". animenewsnetwork.com. Anime News Network. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  17. ^ Mikikazu Komatsu. "Japanese Foreign Ministry Appoints "Slam Dunk" Manga Author as Japan-Spain Goodwill Ambassador". Crunchyroll.
  18. ^ Loo, Egan (13 August 2021). "Slam Dunk Manga Creator Takehiko Inoue Helms, Pens New Anime Film for Fall 2022". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 13 August 2021. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  19. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (8 February 2024). "Oshi no Ko, The First Slam Dunk Win TAAF's Top Awards". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 8 February 2024. Retrieved 8 February 2024.

External links[edit]