Urusei Yatsura, Dr. Slump, Cutie Honey Lyricist Akira Ito Has Died

akira ito death

Legendary lyricist and songwriter Akira Ito died on May 15, 2021. The news comes from NHK and The Yomiuri Shimbun. Ito penned the lyrics to theme songs for classic anime like Urusei Yatsura, Dr. Slump, and Stop!! Hibari-kun! According to his family, Ito died from acute renal failure at a hospital in Yokohama. He was 80 years old. [Thank you, Anime News Network.]

Akira Ito impacted daily life in Japan through memorable wordplay. In his lifetime, he wrote lyrics for over one thousand songs used in various anime, television shows, commercials, and musical acts. Ito penned notable lyrics to a plethora of theme songs for classic anime like Urusei Yatsura, Lalabel The Magical Girl, Anmitsu Hime, and Cutie Honey. Additionally, he wrote ear-worm lyrics for commercial products like the Mitsuya Cider beverages. He specialized in catchy wordplay integrated with a song’s rhythm to make listeners want to sing along, such as in the children’s song “Kono Ki Nan no Ki” (What Kind of Tree Is This?).

In related news, Kentaro Miura, the creator of the Berserk manga series, also died in May 2021. Miura was another influential figure in Japanese media. He was only 54 years old.

Akira Ito died on May 15, 2021. His immediate family held a funeral in his honor.

Oni Dino
Oni Dino is a Japanese-English translator, localization editor, and podcaster. He has several video game credits and regularly translates columns from Masahiro Sakurai and Shigeru Miyamoto. When not knee-deep in a JRPG and wishing games had more environmental story-telling, he's attending industry events and interviewing creative auteurs to share their stories.