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Monkey Punch
Monkey Punch in 2009
Monkey Punch in 2009
BornKazuhiko Katō (加藤一彦)
(1937-05-26)May 26, 1937
Hamanaka, Hokkaido, Japan
DiedApril 11, 2019(2019-04-11) (aged 81)
Sakura, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
Pen nameMonkey Punch, Eiji Gamuta, Kazuhiko Katō (加東一彦)
OccupationManga artist, writer, professor
Notable worksLupin III
Notable awardsInkpot Award (1981)

Kazuhiko Katō (Japanese: 加藤一彦, Hepburn: Katō Kazuhiko, May 26, 1937 – April 11, 2019), known by the pen name Monkey Punch (モンキー・パンチ, Monkī Panchi), was a Japanese manga artist, best known for his series Lupin III.

Life and career

Katō was born in Hamanaka, Hokkaido; he began drawing at a very young age, but did not draw manga until junior high school, when his manga strips were used in the school newspaper.[1] After graduating, he moved to Tokyo to look for work and began going to a technical school for electronics, continuing to draw for fun. While working in a dōjinshi group with other artists, he was recruited by Futabasha and drew yonkoma.[2] He was an assistant to Naoki Tsuji on Zero-sen Hayato and Tiger Mask.[3]

Lupin III made its debut on August 10, 1967, in the first issue of the magazine Weekly Manga Action; the cover was also drawn by Monkey Punch. It went on to become an extremely popular and successful media franchise, spawning numerous manga, six animated television series, seven animated feature films, two live-action films, three OVAs, near-yearly television specials since 1989, music CDs, video games, and a musical. Monkey Punch himself even directed the 1996 film, Dead or Alive.[1]

In April 2005, he became the professor of Manga and Animation at Otemae University, in its Faculty of Media and Arts,[4][5] and was a visiting professor at Tokyo University of Technology in May 2010.[6]

On April 21, 2007, Monkey Punch participated in a series of lectures on the "interaction of manga and culture throughout the world" at the Freer Gallery of Art.[7] In 2008, Monkey Punch was a judge at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Second International Manga Awards.[8]

He designed the characters for the pachinko game CR Ginroku Gijinden Roman in 2012.[9] The following year an anime adaptation of the game began airing on January 7, 2013, with Monkey Punch's designs adapted by Satoshi Hirayama, and was streamed with English subtitles on Crunchyroll.[9][10]

Monkey Punch participated in the writing of the 2014 live-action film adaptation of Lupin III.[11]

Personal life and death

Monkey Punch resided in Sakura, Chiba, until his death.[12] He died on April 11, 2019, due to pneumonia.[13][14][15]

Pen name

Katō first started to work as a professional manga artist, under the pen name Kazuhiko Katō (加東一彦, Katō Kazuhiko, pronounced the same as his real name, but written with different characters). In 1965, he made his debut with Playboy School, writing under the name of Eiji Gamuta (がむた永二, Gamuta Eiji). The editor of the magazine that "discovered him" then suggested the pen name Monkey Punch.[1] Katō claims that he did not like the name, but agreed because it was his boss's idea and his next series was only supposed to be a three-month project.[1] When the series, Lupin III, became popular, he was stuck with the name.

Katō's younger brother, Teruhiko (輝彦), worked as his assistant on Lupin III. For years it was widely believed that the pen name Monkey Punch referred to the two brothers working together as a creative duo, but in a 2017 interview they clarified that this idea stemmed from a mistaken magazine article, and that the name Monkey Punch should be understood to refer exclusively to the older brother Kazuhiko, who did all of the main creative work concerning the characters, story, and the main drawings. The younger brother Teruhiko explained that he was exclusively doing assistant work.[3]


Monkey Punch has stated that Osamu Tezuka was the reason he wanted to become a manga artist.[3] He acknowledged the influence Mad magazine artist Mort Drucker had on his work.[3][16]


He received the Inkpot Award in 1981 and a special Tokyo Anime Award in 2015.[17][18]

List of works








  1. ^ a b c d "Interview: Monkey Punch". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  2. ^ "A Few Stolen Moments with Monkey Punch". Mangazine. Antarctic Press. January 1995.
  3. ^ a b c d "ルーザーズ ~日本初の週刊青年漫画誌の誕生~". 双葉社 (in Japanese). Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  4. ^ "Otemae University – Manga Production Department, Faculty of Media and Arts (Major)". Otemae University. Archived from the original on June 21, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  5. ^ "Mangaka punches above his weight". Yomiuri Shimbun. Archived from the original on January 5, 2011. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  6. ^ "Tokyo University of Technology – Faculty of media". Tokyo University of Technology. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  7. ^ ""Manga to Anime: From Astro Boy to Spirited Away" at the Smithsonian". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
  8. ^ "Lau Wan Kit's Feel 100% Wins 2nd Int'l Manga Award". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Monkey Punch's Roman Phantom Thief Game Gets TV Anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
  10. ^ "Crunchyroll to Stream Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman TV Anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
  11. ^ "'Lupin III' to get a live-action film adaptation starring Oguri Shun". Tokyohive. November 27, 2013. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  12. ^ <モンキー・パンチさん>「ルパン三世」の生みの親が肺炎のため死去 81歳(まんたんウェブ). Yahoo! Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  13. ^ "モンキー・パンチさんが死去 | 2019/4/17(水)". Yahoo!ニュース (in Japanese). Archived from the original on April 16, 2019. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  14. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (April 16, 2019). "Lupin III Creator Monkey Punch Passes Away". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  15. ^ Boucher, Geoff (April 17, 2019). "Monkey Punch, Manga Artist And Creator Of 'Lupin III,' Dead at 81". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  16. ^ Yadao, Jason S. (October 1, 2009). The Rough Guide to Manga. Penguin. ISBN 9781405384230.
  17. ^ "Lupin III Manga Author Monkey Punch Passes Away at Age of 81". Crunchyroll. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  18. ^ "Lupin III's Monkey Punch, More Win TAAF's Meritorious Service Award". Anime News Network. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  19. ^ Yegulalp, Serdar (August 4, 2014). "Monkey Punch's 'Bōtchan': Laugh, It's a Classic". Ganriki. Retrieved September 11, 2021.