Takamasa Sakurai, a noted professor, journalist and the Executive Director of the International Otaku Expo Association (IOEA) passed away in Tokyo on Friday.
The 49-year old was killed in an apparent railway accident at the Nishi-Nippori station in Arakawa, Tokyo at around 12:30am, where he fell off the track and the incoming train hit his leg. Sakurai was rushed into the hospital but was announced dead on arrival.
A witness on the scene purportedly described Sakurai as “intoxicated” when he fell on to the rails, but as of this time, the police is currently investigating the incident.
Takamasa Sakurai is a content media producer, an author and journalist. He is also a former research professor at the Digital Hollywood University in Tokyo.
He has been in different events in over 140 cities in 25 countries across the globe, and has also authored two books, titled “Sekai Kawaii Kakumei” (World Cute Revolution) and “Anime Bunka Gaiko” (Anime Cultural Diplomacy).
He is also the brainchild behind the “Kawaii Ambassadors” project, where three Japanese girls offer lectures about Japanese fashion in events and has also been a member of some select committees of the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He had also produced the highly-popular NHK World interactive music show J-Melo.
He was a special guest in what would be his final event, Anime Festival Asia 2015 in Singapore last week, where he made a talk about the popularity of Japanese idols & idol culture around the world.
Shawn Chin, the executive director of SOZO Pte. Ltd, which produces Anime Festival Asia, expressed his gratitude to the late colleague on his personal Facebook account.
Patrick Henry De Dios, who is the Director for Marketing of Cosplay.ph, which organizes the annual event Cosplay Mania has also expressed his shock on Sakurai’s passing. Cosplay Mania is also a member of the IOEA.
“[Sakurai] was very passionate and enthusiastic to share his ideas and energy to push the industry forward”, De Dios has said on his personal Facebook post.
De Dios is thanking Sakurai for supporting Japanese pop-culture scene around the world, and that he will surely be missed.
Solomon Freeman, who is an ambassador of the pop-culture event Comic Fiesta, which is set to happen this December 19-20 in Malaysia, has revealed on his personal Facebook account that Sakurai was supposed to be one of the event’s special guest.
He has described Sakurai as “very friendly & cheerful person” and stated that those who have met him had felt his charisma & enthusiasm.
“The rest of us at IOEA shall carry on his legacy to unite & further spread of the otaku culture”, Freeman says.
The IOEA also expressed sympathies on its Twitter page.
IOEA Executive Office director Takamasa Sakurai passed away on Dec.4th. A friend & global promoter of Jpn pop culture, we will miss him.
— IOEA Official (@IOEAOfficial) December 4, 2015