The Japanese Foreign Ministry has appointed renowned Slam Dunk and Vagabond creator Takehiko Inoue as a Japan-Spain goodwill ambassador to promote the 400th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. According to Crunchyroll News, Inoue will serve as one of three ambassadors between Tuesday and July 31, 2014.
Inoue, whose manga have been published in Spain, last year released Pepita: Takehiko Inoue Meets Gaudi, a hardcover travel diary filled with prose, sketches and artwork inspired by his journey to the Catalan region and the work of architect Antoni Gaudí.
Recipient of the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize and the Media Arts Festival Award, Inoue has been captivated with Gaudi for years. As part of the 400th-anniversary celebration, an exhibition of Inoue’s Gaudi-related work — tentatively titled “Gaudi-Takehiko Inoue Exhibition” — will be held in April in Barcelona.
Inoue’s basketball manga Slam Dunk has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide.
As part of its “Human to Hero” series, CNN profiles celebrated artist Takehiko Inoue, creator of the hit manga series Vagabond, Slam Dunk and Real. “If you can have vivid characters, they will make the story themselves. By putting them in certain situations or having one meet another, they naturally make stories by reacting to each other,” he says. “It sounds like a very easy thing. I wish it was.”