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The Other Jason The Other Jason is a Male
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Hi all,

It's another very sad bit of news to pass along, but blogs in Japan are reporting that Mr. Sadao Miyamoto, or "Miyasan," as he always asked to be called, died on January 9.

Miyasan was born in Osaka on May 16, 1937. He loved drawing and used to copy pictures from comic books from the time he was ten years old. He first became interested in animation in 1955 after seeing Walt Disney's Peter Pan, while he was still in high school.
He went on to graduate from the Osaka Design Institute in 1957, with a major in illustration. After which, he went to work as a designer and animator for Ikko-sha, a commercial films producer for about seven years.
In September, 1964 he joined Mushi Production, where his ability to draw Osamu Tezuka's characters so faithfully, quickly gained him a position as an animator on Iron Arm Atom (Astro Boy), Ribbon Knight (Princess Knight) and more. He acted as animation director on Tezuka's One Thousand and One Nights theatrical feature (1969). He also did uncredited work on the Rankin-Bass produced Frosty the Snowman TV special (1969).
In February, 1972 he did some contract work for Tatsunoko Production that ended up being more than a decade's worth of his career. His first series for Tatsunoko was the World War II "Animentary," Ketsudan (Decision) and from there he worked on Mock of the Oak Tree and then Gatchaman.
In addition to his position as Animation Director on Gatchaman he also helped to make the designs easier for the animators to work with. He wasn't there for the series planning, but once he refined the look of the model sheets, the series started to look more and more like Miaysan's versions of the characters.
After Tatsunoko, Miyasan did freelance animation design and direction on various projects. From 1975 to 1978, he worked for Sanrio for a couple years in Los Angeles as an animator and designer. While there, he attended the Art Center, College of Design. He was invited back to Tatsunoko as Animation Director on Gatchaman II and Gatchaman Fighter, as well as working on a few of their following projects.
In 1984, Miyasan went to work for Toei Animation as a head of development and a creative producer. He remained there for about five years. In 1992 he came back to America to realize one of his greatest dreams - working for the Walt Disney Company. He was the senior staff artist at their Consumer Products division, where he created merchandising and promotional illustrations. His projects included The Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan and Tarzan.
He remained at Disney until around 2005, when he retired and spent time going back and forth to Japan. He loved playing golf, which was part of the reason he stayed in the US. He eventually moved back to Japan for good and took on lecturing positions and illustration workshops as he desired. In recent years his health had declined.

Miyasan seemed to be a very nice and forthcoming person. We had no idea he was in the US, until a small newspaper in Los Angeles ran a profile of him in late 1997. A fan in the area let us know (thanks again Rosemary, if you're reading this!), and I made an effort to get in touch with him at Disney. He was surprisingly easy to reach, but my Japanese was terrible and his English was on the same level. I was able to get across that I hoped to interview him. Because of the spoken language barrier, I wrote my questions down and sent them to him.
In early 1998, I got a package in the mail. Not only did it include Miyasan's handwritten answers, but there was also a stack of his Gatchaman artwork. It was a completely unexpected surprise and amazing to see.
After that, I thanked him and asked if he would be interested in meeting up with more US fans at the San Diego Comic-Con that year (at our GatchaCon '98 meeting). He was, and traveled from Los Angeles to meet with us, sign autographs, take pictures and sit with us for almost two hours answering questions (through the help of a translator and one of us fans who spoke Japanese) before heading off to see the Con for himself. A few of us asked him to dinner later that night, and even though he was our guest, he insisted on paying for all of it.
I kept in touch with him while he was still in the US, but once he finally moved back to Japan, I lost contact. However, I heard his health was failing in 2022.

Miyasan's incredible gift of illustration gained the trust of some of the key creators in Japanese animation, including Osamu Tezuka. He was once ranked the number three animator in all of Japanese animation by fans in an Animage magazine poll. He received an Animation Achievement Award in March, 2023 from the Tokyo Anime Awards Festival.

After Tatsuo Yoshida, Miyasan was probably the most influential person to develop the look and feel of Gatchaman. It certainly wouldn't have been the same show without his touch. His passing marks another of the greats in early Japanese animation to have left us. But his work will live on to be enjoyed by fans, old and new.

Miyasan was 86 years old.

The Other Jason
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This post has been edited 3 time(s), it was last edited by The Other Jason on 18-01-2024 at 06:39.
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Thank you, Miyasan, for your part in bringing us the show we love so much!

Rest in peace.

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