It was just announced that famed scriptwriter Ichikawa Shinichi unfortunately passed away on Saturday morning due to lung cancer. He was 70 years old.
Ichikawa had penned several masterpieces in his career and just received the Order of the Rising Sun for his lifework last month.
The seriousness of his condition became evident, when he had to cancel a press interview prior to receiving the honorable order at the end of October due to high fever. After getting examined at the hospital, doctors discovered that he had developed cancer in his right chest. He was then transfered to a university hospital for further treatment.
In November, Ichikawa's condition improved again and he decided to leave the hospital and attend the press conference for the drama adaption of his original novel, 'Chouchou-san' (NHK), starring Miyazaki Aoi, on November 11th.
Satisfied with the adaption, he commented at the press conference, "After having seen it (at the preview screening) today, I thought that it would be fortunate to have such a drama become my posthumous work."
[caption id="attachment_203145" align="aligncenter" width="448" caption="Ichikawa Shinichi (left) at the press conference of 'Chouchou-san' with Miyazaki Aoi (center) and the rest of the cast (November 11th)"][/caption]
It's said that he didn't tell any of the staff at NHK about his condition, thus they were quite shocked to hear such words from his mouth. After the press conference, he was going to use all of his energy to fight the cancer and aim for a comeback. Unfortunately his wish didn't come true.
Ichikawa made his debut as a writer in 1966 with the famous children's tokusatsu (special effects) sitcom, 'Kaiju Booska'. He also wrote many episodes for various series of 'Ultraman'.
The list of his biggest masterpieces include the NHK taiga dramas 'Ogon no Hibi' (1978) and 'Sanga Moyu' (1984), the NTV drama 'Kizu Darake no Tenshi', the TBS drama 'Sabishii no wa Omae Dake Janai', and many more.
In 1988, he was honored with Best Writer award at the Japan Academy Awards for his work, 'Ijin-tachi tono Natsu' ('The Discarnates'). In 2003 he received the Medal with Purple Ribbon.
Moreover, he was active as a narrator on TV and the president of the Japan Broadcasting Writer Association. He was concerned over the fading presence of writers in the recent years and regularly gathered the writers from all over Asia in order to tell them how important writers are for successful TV and movie production.
The loss of this legendary writer will be greatly missed.