TOKYO (AP) — Cartoonist Monkey Punch, best known as the creator of a Japanese megahit comic series of master thief Lupin The Third, has died at age of 81.
His office, MP Pictures, said Wednesday that Monkey Punch, whose real name is Kazuhiko Kato, died of pneumonia on April 11.
The story of Lupin's heists with his gang — Daisuke Jigen, Goemon Ishikawa and Fujiko Mine — started in 1967 and has become a longtime bestseller.
The cartoon also was adapted for TV animation and movies, including the 1996 animated film "Lupin III: Dead or Alive," directed by Kato himself.
Kato debuted as a professional cartoonist in 1965 and started using his penname Monkey Punch soon after the Lupin series started in the Weekly Manga Action magazine.