Chibi Maruko-chan | Vol 1 by Momoko Sakura

Momoko Sakura, the beloved creator of the Chibi Maruko-chan manga and anime, passed away on August 15 at 8:29 pm due to breast cancer. Sakura-sensei was 53 at the time of her passing. A funeral service has already been held with her close friends and family members attending the service.

Sakura-sensei was born on May 8, 1965 in Shimizu City, Shizuoka. In 1984, she made her professional manga debut while in college. She created Chibi Maruko-chan and published it in Shueisha’s Ribon magazine starting in 1986 until 1996. The manga has about 32 million copies in print.

Chibi Maruko-chan has been adapted into two television anime series. The first series ran from 1990 to 1992. The second series is currently ongoing and started in 1995. The 1000th episode of the anime aired in 2012. Its 25th anniversary was celebrated in 2015 and Fuji TV says that they will continue to air the anime for the foreseeable future.

Many people have paid their respects to the late author including TARAKO, the voice of the titular character in Chibi Maruko-chan, and Sōichi Aida, the Editor-in-Chief of Shueisha’s Ribon magazine. TARAKO said it was much too soon and that Sakura had so much she still wanted to do. Aida said, “I feel so sad about her demise, which came too early. But the bright smiles of Maru-chan and her friends will keep shining in the minds of readers ranging from kids to adults.”

The staff at Sakura Production also posted an illustration depicting Maruko and many other characters Sakura-sensei has drawn. It is shown below.

Momoko Sakura | Illustration of Characters

In light of her passing, Fuji TV has also announced that they are airing reruns of the”Maruko, Kyōdaigenka o Suru” and “Maruko, Tsuzura no Nakami ga Shiritai” episodes on September 2. These episodes were originally aired on October 26, 2011 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original manga.

Momoko Sakura passed away much too soon and she will not be forgotten. Her characters have brought smiles to the faces of many, young and old, and she will be deeply missed. We at oprainfall would like to express our deepest condolences to Momoko Sakura’s family and our thoughts and prayers go out to them.

SOURCES: Momoko Sakura’s Official Blog, Oricon via Hachima Kikou, ANN, The Japan Times

Patrick Aguda
Patrick is an avid fan of both video games and anime. He has been a fan of anime since his older sister introduced him to the genre when he was younger. He grew up watching shows such as Cardcaptor Sakura, Digimon Adventure, Gundam Wing, Dragon Ball Z, Tenchi Muyo and Yu Yu Hakusho. His favorite games include Persona 3 Portable, Steambot Chronicles and the .hack//G.U. trilogy. He strongly believes that Sinon, Maki and Mash are best girls.