Kazuo Koike (小池 一夫, Koike Kazuo, May 8, 1936 - April 17, 2019) was a prolific Japanese manga writer (gensakusha), novelist and entrepreneur. His works include Crying Freeman, Lady Snowblood, Lone Wolf and Cub, Mad Bull 34 and Samurai Executioner.
However, an arguably more important role he had in the development of Japanese manga was as a mentor. His confidence in the power of the writer as a force led him in 1977 to establish the Gekiga Sonjuku program to educate new creators. You might know some of the graduates from this program; they include:
- Rumiko Takahashi (Urusei Yatsura, Ranma ½, InuYasha etc.)
- Akira Sakuma (game designer, Momotaro Densetsu series)
- Hideyuki Kikuchi (Vampire Hunter D)
- Tetsuo Hara (Fist of the North Star)
- Yuji Horii (game designer, Dragon Quest series)
- Keisuke Itagaki (Baki the Grappler)
- Naoki Yamamoto (Dance till Tomorrow)
- Takayuki Yamaguchi (Apocalypse Zero and Shigurui).