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Legendary manga artist Akira Toriyama has been celebrated around the world for his Dragon Ball franchise, and he just received quite the honor for his work.
The French government has given the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettre (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) status to Toriyama, during a ceremony on May 30th in the French Embassy in Japan (via HuffPo France).
It’s worth noting Toriyama is a very private person (some consider him a recluse) and rarely goes out in public or for promotional events – and as such he did not attend the ceremony. Instead, his publisher Akio Iyoku was there to receive the medal in his place. He naturally apologized for Toriyama.
Iyoku spoke on behalf of the creator: “Mr. Toriyama is always very grateful to his French fans, who began to appreciate his works early in his career. Unfortunately, Mr. Toriyama almost never attends ceremonies and I have the honor of receiving this award in his place.”
Iyoku added, “He instructed me to tell you how honored he is to receive this reward from your country.”
Dragon Ball is a worldwide icon, however the manga is known for almost single-handedly popularizing the art form in the country. The series got very popular thanks to its anime adaptation, which broadcasted in the Club Dorothée children’s TV show in the 1980s.
While it’s taken perhaps a bit too long for Toriyama to join the knighted manga artists club, he joins other legendary creators like Katsuhiro Otomo, Leiji Matsumoto, and Isao Takahata.