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The French government conferred the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) decoration to Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama during a ceremony on May 30 at the French Embassy in Japan.
Toriyama is known as a private person that rarely appears publicly. He did not attend the ceremony and instead his publisher Akio Iyoku was awarded the medal in his place, while apologizing for the absence of Toriyama. Iyoku said, “Mr. Toriyama is always very grateful to his French fans who have appreciated his works since the early days of his career. Unfortunately, Mr. Toriyama almost never attends ceremonies and so I have the honor of receiving this award in his place. He instructed me to tell you how honored he is to receive this award from your country.”
Toriyama’s Dragon Ball is credited with popularizing manga in France. The series rose to popularity thanks to its anime adaptation airing as part of the Club Dorothée children’s television program in the late 1980s. French publisher Glénat localized the manga in 1993 and it quickly became a cultural phenomenon.
Toriyama joins fellow knighted manga and anime creators Leiji Matsumoto, Jiro Taniguchi, Katsuhiro Otomo, Isao Takahata, and Takeshi Kitano.
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