Fujiko Fujio

Fujiko Fujio was a nom de plume of a manga writing duo formed by two Japanese manga artists. Their real names are Hiroshi Fujimoto  and Motō Abiko . They formed their partnership in 1951, and used the Fujiko Fujio name from 1954 until dissolution of the partnership in 1987.

From the outset they adopted a collaborative style where both worked simultaneously on the story and artwork, but as they diverged creatively they started releasing individual works under different names, Abiko as Fujiko Fujio (A), and Fujimoto as Fujiko F. Fujio . Throughout their career they won many individual and collaborative awards, and are best known for creating the popular and long-running series Doraemon, the main character of which is officially recognized as a cultural icon of Modern Japan.



Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko were both from Toyama Prefecture. Fujimoto was born on December 1, 1933 and Abiko on March 10, 1934. Abiko transferred to Fujimoto’s elementary school in Takaoka,_Toyama and happened to see Fujimoto drawing in a notebook. The two became lifelong friends, and during the early years of their friendship kept their illustrations hidden from friends and classmates out of embarrassment.

In junior high school they were greatly influenced by Osamu Tezuka and his manga series Shintakarajima. Fujimoto built a homemade episcope and together they wrote a piece for it called Tenküma, which was their first collaborate work. They started submitting work to periodicals such as Manga Shonen and opened a joint savings account through Japan Post fto which they both contributed funds and which they used to purchase art supplies. They two divided all income and expenses equally between each other, a practice they continued through out the life of their partnership.

In high school they made their publishing debut, Tenshi no Tama-chan being adopted for serialization by Mainichi Shogakusei Shimbun in 1951. That same year they paid a visit to Osamu Tezuka‘s residence in Takarazuka, Hyōgo Prefecture, and showed him illustrations for their work titled Ben Hur. Tezuka complimented the two, some years later commenting that he knew then they were going to be major figures in the manga industry. Abiko and Fujimoto treasured the meeting with the respected Tezuka, and kept the Ben Hur illustrations for their entire lives. It was at this time they decided to make their partnership permanent, initially adopting the name Tezuka Fujio out of respect, later changing this to Azhizuka Fujio when they perceived adoption of the Tezuka name as too close to that of their idol.

Because both Fujimoto and Abiko were both eldest sons, they decided to take company jobs after graduating from high school in 1952. Fujimoto found employment with a confectionery company, and Abiko began working for the Toyama Newspaper Company. However, Fujimoto suffered a workplace injury when an arm was caught in machinery, and he quit within a matter of days. Fujimoto then dedicated his time to submitting work to periodicals, with Abiko assisting him on the weekends. Their first serial as Ashizuka Fujio was terminated in a few episodes, followed by success with Utopia: The Last World War (UTOPIA—最後の世界大戦, UTOPIA: Saigo no Sekai Taisen?).

They elected to move to Tokyo in 1954 in professional manga artists at Fujimoto’s urging, Abiko only reluctantly as he had steady employment at the Toyama Newspaper Company. Their first place of residence was a two-tatami mat room at the home of one of Abiko’s relatives in Koto, Tokyo. Together with Terada Hiroo and several other mangaka of the period, they formed a collaborative group called New Manga Party (新漫画党, Shin Manga-To?). Moving into the Tokiwa-so apartment complex where the group was based, they enjoyed a period of productivity that had Fujimoto and Abiko carry up to six serials a month for publication.

The workload proved excessive, and in 1955 on return to Toyama Prefecture for Japanese New Year the pair missed all the deadlines for their serials. The loss of credibility with publishers hurt Fujimoto and Abiko for over a year, during which time they concentrated on solo projects, purchasing a television set in Akihabara and making independent films with an 8mm camera. By 1959 they left Tokiwa-so and eventually moved to Kawasaki in Kanagawa Prefecture. Fujimoto found time to get married in 1962 (at the age of 28).

In 1963 Fujimoto and Abiko established Studio Zero with Shin’ichi Suzuki, Shotaro Ishinomori, Jiro Tsunoda, and Kiyoichi Tsunoda. Later Fujio Akatsuka joined, and at its peak the studio employed about 80 people. The studio produced several animated films such as Astro Boy. For Fujimoto and Abiko these were some of their most productive years, resulting in series such as Obake no Q-tarō which eventually were made into anime series on television. It was at this time that Abiko started making manga for a more mature audience, with titles such as Pro Golfer Saru and Kuroi Salesman. Abiko got married in 1966 at the age of 32. Fujimoto concentrated on titles for children, with a particular interest in science fiction.

Doraemon was created in 1970 and immediately surged in popularity with children in Japan. CoroCoro Comic was released its first issue in 1977 to showcase the works of Fujiko Fujio. With syndication of Doraemon on TV Asahi in 1977, a surge of popularity saw up to a dozen collaborative and solo works by Fujimoto and Abiko picked up for publication and syndication as anime throughout the 1980s.

In 1987, citing creative differences Fujimoto and Abiko ended their long partnership to concentrate on solo projects. Remaining close friends, they both worked under a company called Fujiko Productions and based their studios in adjoining buildings. Abiko concentrated on work incorporating more black humor while Fujimoto focused on works for children. According to Abiko, the cause for the dissolution of the partnership was due to Fujimoto discovering he had liver cancer in 1986, and the desire of both Fujimoto and Abiko to settle issues of copyright and finances before Fujimoto’s death in 1996.

A documentary was aired on TV Asahi in February 19, 2006 chronicling the life and times of Fujiko Fujio. Their work remains in print.


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