Takehiko Inoue (井上雄彦 Inoue Takehiko, born 12 January 1967 in Okuchi, Kagoshima) is a Japanese manga artist, best known for the basketball manga Slam Dunk, which has become a success both in Japan and overseas. Many of his works are about basketball, Inoue himself being a huge fan of the sport, and many Japanese children started to play basketball because they read the manga. This in turn helped make basketball popular in Japan and across East Asia.
Inoue has been drawing manga mainly in male-oriented magazines. Inoue's name is ordered as Takehiko Inoue on his books sold in North America through Viz Media (Vagabond, Slam Dunk, and Real), although Gutsoon! Entertainment's earlier Slam Dunk translations in North America used Inoue Takehiko.
Before his debut, Inoue was an assistant of Tsukasa Hojo in City Hunter. His debut in manga magazines was in 1988, and Purple Kaede appeared in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine. His manga tankōbon debut was Chameleon Jail in 1989, for which he was the illustrator.
Inoue achieved fame with his second manga, Slam Dunk, about a basketball team from Shohoku (Shōhoku) High School. It was first published in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump in Japan from 1990–1996 and has sold over 100 million copies in Japan alone. In 1995, it received the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen and in 2007 was declared Japan's favorite manga. Slam Dunk was adopted into a 101 episode TV anime series and four movies.
The next work he produced was Buzzer Beater, a collaboration with ESPN in 1997. About a basketball team from Earth that attempts to compete on the intergalactic level, it appears on his official web site 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 season were animated by TMS Entertainment.
Vagabond was Inoue's next manga, adapted from the fictionalized accounts by Eiji Yoshikawa of the samurai Miyamoto Musashi (宮本武蔵, 1584–1645), which he began drawing in 1998. He received a Kodansha Manga Award in 2000 and an Osamu Tezuka Culture Award in 2002 for Vagabond. While still working on Vagabond, Inoue began drawing Real in 2001, his third basketball manga, which focuses on wheelchair basketball. It received an Excellence Prize at the 2001 Japan Media Arts Festival. Both Vagabond and Real are currently ongoing.
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