Yuji Nunokawa, founder and former chairman of Japanese animation giants Studio Pierrot, passed away on Dec 25, 2022. He was 75-years-old.
A statement put out by Studio Pierrot on their official twitter account said that the close family members will be holding a funeral service for Nunokawa, following which a memorial service for the former chairman will be held separately by the studio at a later date.
“It is with great sadness we inform you of the passing of Yuji Nunokawa, the former chairman and supreme advisor of Pierrot,” the statement read. “He will be sorely missed for his leadership, commitment and passion.”
Born in Sakata City in Yamanashi prefecture on Feb 11, 1947, Nunokawa graduated from Nippon Design Welfare College in Tokyo. He would then go on to found Studio Pierrot in May 1979 along with Hisayuki Toriyumi and Masami Anno, and became its president.
His tenure as the president saw him produce iconic hits, including Naruto, Bleach, Yu Yu Hakusho, the original Urusei Yatsura anime, and many other series.
In 2012 he moved on from production duties and took up the role of Chairman of Studio Pierrot. He would eventually serve the role of Supreme Advisor to the studio.
Before founding Studio Pierrot, Nunokawa worked as an animator, character designer and even as an episode director across multiple studios including Mushi Productions, Studio Jack and Tatsunoko Productions.
He also passed up the chance to become a founding staff member of Soeisha studio, which later went on to become Sunrise Inc. and later Bandai Namco Filmworks.
Nunokawa has also kickstarted other initiatives to better the situation of anime, one of them being the establishment of The Association of Japanese Animations. He served as a vice-chairman of the organization, before taking up the role of chairman in 2009. He stayed in that post until 2014.
He is also the recipient of the Medal of Honor Blue Ribbon, one of the highest honors presented to a Japanese citizen. He was also awarded the Commissioner for Cultural Affairs Award in 2019 by Japan’s agency for cultural affairs.