‘Dragon Ball’ creator Akira Toriyama dies at 68

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. influence / ˈɪn flu əns / (v.) – to have an effect on someone or something, often in a way that changes their behavior, thoughts, or actions

    The documentary about climate change influenced many viewers to adopt more eco-friendly practices.

  2. adaptation / ˌæd əpˈteɪ ʃən / (n.) – a movie, TV show, or play that is based on a book, story, or other source material

    The movie adaptation of my favorite book will come out in theaters next week.

  3. condolence / kənˈdoʊ ləns / (n.) – an expression of sadness and sympathy for the family or friends of a person who has recently died

    We offered our condolences to the family after hearing about their loss.

  4. spotlight / ˈspɒtˌlaɪt / (n.) – public attention toward a particular person, event, issue, or topic

    The actress found herself in the spotlight after her outstanding performance in her latest film.

  5. quest / kwɛst / (n.) – a long journey of searching for something difficult to find

    The young man began a challenging quest to find the lost treasure hidden deep in the jungle.


Read the text below.

Akira Toriyama, the creator of the best-selling “Dragon Ball” and other popular anime who influenced Japanese comics, has died, Bird Studio said on March 8. He was 68.

Toriyama’s “Dragon Ball” manga series, which started in 1984, has sold millions of copies globally and was adapted into hugely popular animated TV shows, video games, and films.

“He was working enthusiastically on many projects, and there was still much he was looking forward to accomplishing,” the studio wrote.

A new TV adaptation of Toriyama’s “Sand Land,” a desert adventure story released in 2000 and later adapted into a 2023 anime movie, is due to be released on Disney+ in the spring.

Messages of condolences and grief from fellow creators and fans filled social media. Eiichiro Oda, creator of the blockbuster manga “One Piece,” said Toriyama’s presence was like a “big tree” to younger artists. “He showed us all these things manga can do, a dream of going to another world,” Oda said in a statement. His death leaves “a hole too big to fill.”

Bird Studio thanked fans for more than 40 years of support. “We hope that Akira Toriyama’s unique world of creation continues to be loved by everyone for a long time to come.”

Born in Aichi prefecture in central Japan in 1955, Toriyama made his manga debut in 1978 with the adventure comic “Wonder Island,” published in the Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. His Dr. Slump series, which started in 1980, was his first major hit.

It made him a celebrity, but Toriyama avoided the spotlight. In 1982, he told Japanese public broadcaster NHK: “I just want to keep writing manga.”

“Dragon Ball,” the story of a boy named Son Goku and his quest for seven magical balls that can make wishes come true, has sold 260 million copies altogether, according to the studio.

Toriyama also designed characters for the video game series Dragon Quest. He received awards in the manga industry and beyond, including France’s Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Eiichiro Oda mentioned that Toriyama’s presence was like a “big tree” to younger artists. What do you think he meant by this? Discuss.
  • Many of Toriyama’s work made him a celebrity, but he avoided the spotlight, saying that he just wanted to keep writing manga. In your opinion, is it important for artists like Toriyama to maintain focus on their craft rather than to seek public recognition? Why or why not? How do you think Toriyama’s mindset influenced his works? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • How do you think Akira Toriyama’s work influenced you or the people in your country? Do you believe that Toriyama’s unique world of creation will continue to be loved by everyone for a long time to come? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Toriyama received awards in the manga industry and beyond, including France’s Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters. What do you think Toriyama’s prestigious awards tell us about how manga affects the whole world? How do you feel about manga’s influence internationally (ex. I feel proud of it, I find it amazing)? Discuss.