A mangaka has one of the coolest careers imaginable. The ability to create worlds and characters beloved by fans is a reward in and of itself. However, imagine pairing that with the incredible amount of money from sales of a breakout title. It’s no wonder so many manga fans, who dabble in drawing and writing their own, look up to these famous and wealthy creators.
Determining who exactly is the richest mangaka, however, can be tricky. Not all mangaka are forthcoming with their bank accounts, nor does a worthy creator always get paid what they’re worth. One may also need to consider legacy as well. A creator may no longer be alive, but their creations may still make money for their estates. That said, there are clear pictures of success when highlighting individual creators and actively working mangaka.
Updated on November 8, 2023, by Ajay Aravind: The art of manga has been around for more than a century, but the medium originated several hundred years ago. Manga have become more and more popular in recent years, spawning massive franchises worth billions of dollars. As such, we’ve updated this list of the richest mangaka in Japan by including five more entries.
20 George Morikawa’s Hajime No Ippo Has Been Going Strong For 20 Years
Estimated Net Worth: $1-3 million
George Morikawa’s Hajime no Ippo is a boxing manga that’s been going strong for well over 20 years. The series began in 1989 and has no sign of ending any time soon. Fans always recommend Hajime no Ippo to anyone looking for a good sports manga.
Currently, the series has crossed sales of 100 million volumes. As for Morikawa’s net worth, it’s estimated to be somewhere between one and three million dollars. This seems absurdly low, however, for such a knockout series. Hajime no Ippo deserves much more recognition outside of niche sports manga.
19 Keisuke Itagaki’s Baki The Grappler Is One Of The Most Popular Martial Arts Manga
Estimated Net Worth: $5-6 million
Keisuke Itagaki’s Baki the Grappler follows a teenage fighter in several no-holds-barred martial arts competitions. The series consists of multiple sequels that are still ongoing. Martial arts manga are very popular, and Baki the Grappler is among the most popular in its category.
On an interesting note, Itagaki’s daughter, Paru, is the creator of Beastars. She is definitely following in her father’s footsteps. Various Baki the Grappler collections have swelled to about 75 to 80 million in sales of tankobon volumes. Itagaki’s net worth is tough to verify; the best estimate is probably $5 to $6 million.
18 Ken Wakui’s Tokyo Revengers Has Sold At Least 70 Million Copies
Estimated Net Worth: $5-8 million
Tokyo Revengers has sold at least 70 million copies as of late 2022, making it one of the best-selling manga of all time. Mangaka Ken Wakui was originally known for Shinjuku Swan, his debut series that received multiple anime adaptations.
That said, the sheer success of Tokyo Revengers is the reason for Wakui’s estimated net worth. At somewhere between five and eight million dollars, Wakui is relatively richer than most of his cohorts. The mangaka has also won the 44th Kodansha Manga Award, a significant achievement for a shonen author.
17 Yoichi Takahashi’s Captain Tsubasa Is An Extremely Prominent Sports Manga
Estimated Net Worth: $6 million
Yoichi Takahashi’s Captain Tsubasa is one of the most prominent sports manga ever created. It’s beloved across Japan for its compelling characters and intense soccer competitions, which led to a soccer boom in Japan. The series has spawned a multitude of anime and movie adaptations, each of which has been as popular as the source material.
Captain Tsubasa, including all associated spinoffs, has easily crossed the 90 million sales threshold. Takahashi’s net worth is estimated to be in the range of $6 million, but the impact on the soccer fandom in Japan is certainly a great bonus.
16 Kohei Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia Has Become A Global Anime Powerhouse
Estimated Net Worth: $6-10 million
Kohei Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia has become an anime powerhouse, spawning a massive global franchise comprising movies, video games, theater productions, and light novels. This manga has sold over 85 million copies, a massive number for such a recent release.
Although multiple sources pin Horikoshi’s net worth at around $6-10 million, this number is likely to be a severe understatement. My Hero Academia‘s manga storyline is probably going to conclude at some point in 2023, but the anime adaptation has another couple of years left. Besides, Horikoshi might even write a sequel.
15 Yasuhisa Hara’s Kingdom Is Set During The Warring States Period In China
Estimated Net Worth: $10 million
Kingdom is currently the longest-running Seinen manga in the military history genre. It earned mangaka Yasuhisa Hara numerous accolades, including the prestigious Grand Prize category at the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize awards. Although Kingdom initially received low ratings from readers, Yasuhisa improved certain aspects of the manga, allowing it to gain worldwide favor.
The story is set during the Warring States period in China, where it showcases the protagonist’s inevitable rise to power. There are numerous anime seasons, video games, and live-action movies based on the source material, further explaining how Hara could have earned his estimated $10 million personal fortune.
14 Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon Has Spawned A Franchise Worth Billions Of Dollars
Estimated Net Worth: $10 million
Naoko Takeuchi’s claim to fame lies entirely in Sailor Moon, which is easily among the most famous animanga series in history. Sailor Moon has gone on to spawn a veritable franchise comprising several anime series — the titular show began airing in 1992, while Sailor Moon Crystal‘s “Death Busters” finished airing in 2016. The story is centered around Usagi Tsukino, or Sailor Moon, as she goes on the hunt for the Legendary Silver Crystal.
Although it has sold nearly 50 million copies, this Shojo manga lags behind some of the more popular Shonen series. That said, the Sailor Moon franchise has earned billions of dollars overall. Interestingly, Takeuchi has been married to Yoshihiro Togashi since 1999, so the couple’s combined wealth presumably exceeds $40 million.
13 Gege Akutami Is Writing Jujutsu Kaisen Under A Pseudonym
Estimated Net Worth: $10-12 million
Much like Demon Slayer‘s Koyoharu Gotouge, Jujutsu Kaisen‘s mangaka Gege Akutami prefers to stay out of the spotlight. This is why they use a pen name — almost nobody is aware of their true identity. Akutami has openly acknowledged mangaka Tite Kubo as a seminal influence on their storytelling style.
That said, Jujutsu Kaisen is radically different from Bleach in many ways. Akutami’s iconic manga has sold more than 70 million copies, making Gege Akutami’s net worth approximately $10-12 million. In fact, it can be argued that Jujutsu Kaisen is one of the most memorable shonen manga released in the past few years.
12 Osamu Akimoto’s KochiKame: Tokyo Beat Cops Ran From 1976 To 2016
Estimated Net Worth: $10-12 million
KochiKame: Tokyo Beat Cops may not be the longest-running series in history, but it briefly held a Guinness World Record. It had the “most volumes published for a single manga series” until 2021, with 201 volumes and 1,960 chapters. KochiKame: Tokyo Beat Cops is a comedy manga illustrated and written by Osamu Akimoto.
It chronicles the hilarious hijinks of protagonist Kankichi Ryotsu, an aging police officer who doesn’t really care about doing his job well (or at all). Osamu’s manga concluded in 2016, with nearly 160 million copies produced. As such, it’s not very surprising that he has an estimated net worth of $10-12 million.
11 Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist Is One Of The Greatest Manga In History
Estimated Net Worth: $10-15 million
The sheer overwhelming popularity of Fullmetal Alchemist swept the world for years, spawning countless memes and discussions across various anime fandoms. Written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa, this Shonen manga ran from 2001 to 2010. The first anime adaptation was released before the manga was complete, leading to a completely different narrative and outcome for the protagonists.
Thankfully, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood made up for all its predecessor’s failings by following the manga storyline exactly — delivering what can only be described as the perfect conclusion. Viewers who haven’t watched the latter anime are in for a treat, but readers can have just as much fun with the manga. Arakawa’s $10-15 million personal fortune comes almost exclusively from Fullmetal Alchemist.
Estimated Net Worth: $13-15 million
Hirohiko Araki’s JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is one of today’s most beloved ongoing manga. The series spans over two decades and follows various members of the Joestar dynasty. The characters are known for their fantastically ridiculous meta-references.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is also widely known for the “Stand” concept, a psychic projection used in combat. With sales reaching at least 100 million volumes, Hirohiko Araki’s net worth is estimated to be about $13 to $15 million, but this seems a bit on the low end. Perhaps an enemy Stand is obscuring the truth.
9 Takehiko Inoue Has Earned His Wealth Through Both Slam Dunk & Vagabond
Estimated Net Worth: $12-20 million
There might be dozens of sports manga out there, but Slam Dunk is arguably the most famous basketball-themed manga. Mangaka Takehiko Inoue is a self-described fan of basketball, explaining why the narrative feels so authentic and credible. Slam Dunk chronicles the journey of Shohoku High’s basketball team, who struggle against adversaries far more experienced than themselves.
Interestingly, Inoue’s $12-20 million net worth comes both from Slam Dunk and Vagabond, the latter being an epic martial arts manga. Vagabond loosely follows the story pattern in Musashi, Eiji Yoshikawa’s novel. Slam Dunk and Vagabond have sold over 250 million copies combined.
8 Masashi Kishimoto Is Famous For Creating Both Naruto And Boruto
Estimated Net Worth: $25-27 million
Masashi Kishimoto is famous for his ninja series, Naruto. Written a few years after its ending, Boruto follows the original Naruto characters’ children. Including Boruto, Naruto is one of the greatest-selling manga franchises with about 250 million copies sold.
Despite the impressive success of his series, Masashi Kishimoto’s net worth is believed to be between $25 to $27 million. Of course, this is a tremendous amount of money, but given the impact of his work, it also seems to be a strangely small amount.
7 Yoshihiro Togashi Followed Yu Yu Hakusho With Hunter X Hunter
Estimated Net Worth: $30 million
Yoshihiro Togashi’s Hunter x Hunter follows Gon Freecss, who discovers his father is a famous Hunter. The series is very popular today — spawning a small media empire of its own — and is known for its unique artifacts, creatures, and much more. The manga has approached close to 80 million in sales.
A little before Hunter x Hunter, Togashi created another famous manga series: YuYu Hakusho, which probably added a fair sum to his bank account. HxH is a primarily light-hearted, yet foundational shonen series. With these two manga under his belt, Togashi’s net worth is estimated to be about $30 million.
6 Tite Kubo’s Bleach Is Currently Going Through An Anime Resurrection
Estimated Net Worth: $40-56 million
Most manga fans haven’t even heard of Zombiepowder, Tite Kubo’s debut manga, but everyone in the anime world knows about Bleach. The latter series was widely acknowledged among the Shonen Big Three, an honor it fully deserves. Although the manga ended in 2016, the final arc of the Bleach anime received its long-awaited adaptation in 2022.
Tite Kubo may have been criticized for the Thousand-Year Blood War storyline’s terrible pacing, but that didn’t stop Bleach from selling a whopping 130 million volumes. One of the richest mangaka out there, Tite Kubo’s net worth fluctuates widely based on the source, ranging between 40 and 56 million USD.
5 Hajime Isayama’s Attack On Titan Is One Of The Best Manga Of The 21st Century
Estimated Net Worth: $45-46 million
Attack on Titan‘s creator, Hajime Isayama, doesn’t only draw giants. He also has an equally massive set of royalties to fall back on. The anime follows a society menaced by gigantic humanoids called “Titans,” who threaten what seems to be the last bastion of humanity in the world.
That said, the heroes only discover the truth during the anime’s Final Season. Over the years, Attack on Titan has become extremely popular, so much so that it has achieved sales of over 100 million volumes. Hajime Isayama’s net worth is estimated to be about $45-46 million.
4 Gosho Aoyama’s Detective Conan Has Achieved Worldwide Acclaim
Estimated Net Worth: $50 million
Gosho Aoyama is the mangaka behind the famous Case Closed, more commonly known as Detective Conan. The manga follows a de-aged detective solving mysteries while simultaneously dealing with elementary school. The manga has sold at least 230 million volumes, although the count is likely much higher.
The protagonist, Conan Edogawa, has garnered worldwide attention since the anime series’ airing. Conan O’Brien, a famous American comic and TV host, even acknowledged the child detective on his show. Aoyama is said to be worth about $50 million. This level of success is certainly not kid’s stuff.
3 Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball Is Arguably The Most Iconic Shonen Manga In History
Estimated Net Worth: $55 million
Calling Akira Toriyama one of the most influential mangakas in Japan would be an understatement. With sales of his vast Dragon Ball series climbing to 300 million volumes, Toriyama is undoubtedly a titan in the manga industry. Toriyama also created Dragon Ball Z, formally introducing the medium of manga to the western hemisphere.
This isn’t Toriyama’s only source of income. He’s also responsible for the character designs of the massive Dragon Quest video game series. Despite his incredible impact and influence, Akira Toriyama’s net worth is estimated at around $55 million. This seems very low considering this is the creator of Dragon Ball. Then again, creators may not always be paid what they’re worth.
2 Rumiko Takahashi’s Inuyasha And Ranma ½ Are Both Memorable ’90s Manga
Estimated Net Worth: $60-70 million
Some of the best mangaka out there are women, as evidenced by Rumiko Takahashi’s monumental success. Like Yoshihiro Togashi, Rumiko Takahashi is renowned for creating two iconic manga, both of which garnered widespread applause. Ranma ½ and Inuyasha have since become household names, having sold 55 million and 50 million copies, respectively.
Both these manga have had multiple adaptations and spin-offs, explaining why Takahashi’s net worth hovers somewhere between sixty and seventy million USD. Further, she has won several prestigious awards for her work, including the Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême.
1 Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece Is The Best-Selling Manga Of All Time
Estimated Net Worth: $200-230 million
It’s no surprise Eiichiro Oda, the creator behind the greatest-selling manga of all time, One Piece, is also the richest mangaka in the industry. Since the Straw Hat Pirates’ introduction in 1997, the series has sold well over 450 million tankobon volumes, about 150 million more than Dragon Ball.
In the subsequent two decades, One Piece has become an absolute juggernaut of a franchise. Many calculations put Eiichiro Oda’s net worth in the $200 million range, while some estimates climbing as high as $230 million. This makes Eiichiro Oda not only the richest mangaka working today but also in history.
SOURCE : www.cbr.com