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Mizutama Keinojō

Entry updated 5 May 2021. Tagged: Artist, Author.

Working name of a Japanese artist and Manga illustrator Kei Yoshida (1959-2014), born Kei Okabe. The daughter of the artist and scientific journalist Fuyuhiko Okabe (1922-2005), Mizutama first worked as an illustrator for music magazines, before drifting into sf as an artist and columnist. She won the Seiun Award for Art (see Illustration) in 1993 and 1995 for early instalments of "SF Made 10,000 Kōnen" ["10,000 Light Years to SF"] (graph January 1993-December 2002 SF Magazine), a self-illustrated opinion column referencing Ten Thousand Light Years From Home (coll 1973; trans Norio Itō 1993) by James Tiptree Jr in its title. A second series of the column began in S-F Magazine in September 2003 and continued until at least 2011.

Despite a continual presence in Fandom, not only in Japan's sf journal of record since 1993, but also in similarly widely read magazines as Model Graphix, B-Club and Famicom Tsūshin, many of her columns were time-sensitive or parochial, and hence appear not to lend themselves to later reprint in volume form. She was thus one of those oddest of celebrities, an award-winning doyenne of serious fandom with very little footprint beyond its outskirts. While her illustrations continued to appear in the books of others, her personal work arguably became more widely known through character designs in occasional Anime or computer Games, such as the PlayStation game Kasei Monogatari ["Mars Story"] (1998) or the television cartoon series Brigadoon (2000). [JonC]

Kei Okabe

born Saitama, Japan: 3 May 1959

died Tokyo: 20 December 2014

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