He is the father of the modern Japanese superhero genre and considered by comic readers to be the Japanese counterpart of Stan Lee or Jack Kirby, as he created dozens of beloved superhero properties including the start of Super Sentai (Goranger), Kamen Rider, Inazuman and Kikaider.
He was active in his manga career from 1954 to his death in 1998.
He was born January 25, 1938 in Ishimori-cho, in the Tome county of Miyagi Prefecture. This location would later become the basis for his first pseudonym "Ishimori".
Already an aspiring manga-ka in high school, he would catch the attention of Osamu Tezuka in 1954, after sending his work in to a talent contest held by the magazine Manga Shonen. and would be his assistant for a few pages of an Astro Boy chapter.
His father was against him becoming a manga-ka, but he went against his father's will to move to Tokyo with his older sister Yoshie Onodera, who was supportive of his work. They lived in the Tokiwa-so apartment complex, where other up-and-coming manga artists such as the Fujiko Fujio duo (Fujiko F. Fujio and Fujiko Fujio A), Fujio Akatsuka, Jiro Tsunoda, and many others would congregate.
Around this time in 1954, his first work "Secondary Angel" would be published, along with other early stories afterwards. But sadly, in April 1958, his sister began to suffer complications from her asthma and passed away at the age of 23. This would affect Ishimori greatly, as she had been the one to support him all this time.
In 1960, Ishimori had been considering giving up manga to become a director for films but experienced an unexpected hit with the series Wonder Man Harimao. He would also receive acclaim for the shoujo one-shot Dragon God Pond in 1961. It was in the autumn of that year that Ishimori would take out a 2 million yen loan from one of his publishers, Shueisha, to go on an international trip through various countries. Around some point, he would see the LIFE magazine feature on the "Cyborg" by Nathan Kline and Manfred Clynes, and become inspired for a potential new series idea.
As he worked on his other publications, he had attempted to pitch the new cyborg series idea to numerous publishers but found it rejected each time, until he was able to successfully pitch it to the company Shonen Gahosha in 1964. Cyborg 009 would start in their Weekly Shonen King magazine on July 19th, but would experience trouble a year later when his editor at the magazine ordered the series cancelled, necessitating its leap to Kodansha in the following year. The 009 series would go down as one of his best-known hero manga over time, spanning several decades and publishers.
In 1971, Ishimori would develop the tokusatsu hero Kamen Rider for Toei, after his pitches of "Cross-Fire" and one based off his Skull Man character had been rejected. There would also be an ongoing manga that was published around the time of the series, though it would also diverge. He would also develop Kikaider, Inazuman, and Goranger, along with other properties during this time.
In the 1980s, once the 30th anniversary of his career had come around, he would take the new pseudonym "Ishinomori", which he had actually intended as the reading from the start.
His workflow would start to decline in the 1990s, as rumors and speculation had emerged about him being ill. In keeping with the secretiveness about cancer and other terminal illness in Japanese society, very few were aware that he had actually developed lymphoma and had been undergoing treatment. By August 1997, an ailing Ishinomori began to finally pen the conclusion to Cyborg 009, which he would eventually title as "GOD'S WAR". During this time, he discussed with Kazuhiko Shimamoto about the other author co-plotting the story, as well as a new "Skull Man" reboot, which he would let Shimamoto have free reign with.
But by January 1998, Ishinomori's health took a worse turn. Three days after his birthday, Ishinomori would pass away due to heart failure from complications of the lymphoma.
- Ishinomori is often called "The Father of Power Rangers". While loosely true, as he created the first two installments of the Super Sentai series, Gorenger and JAKQ, he was not involved in the creation of Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger or any series afterward which Saban used stock footage for to create the adaptation series.
- Shotaro Ishinomori appeared in the OVA, Cyborg 009: CONCLUSION~God's War: Prologue voiced by Hiroshi Iwasaki. Ishinomori can also be seen in a cameo in the pitch trailer for the 2001 series, which was developed by Naoyuki Konno and broadcast at the Ishinomori museum in July 2000.