Manga-ka Keiko Tobe has passed away at age 52. Tobe is known for her award-winning WITH THE LIGHT (published in the US by Yen Press), the sensitive story of a couple raising an autistic child. She stopped work on the title because of her illness a year ago, and her death leaves it unfinished.


  1. I am truly saddened by this. I was the Co-Founder of Yen Press and was a huge fan and advocate of this her book. I remember sitting having coffee with the original editor from Akita Shoten, our agent and my co-publisher across the street from their offices. He mentioned With The Light almost as an afterthought (we later learned that many other manga publishers had shown no interest in it) and at the same moment my co-publisher and I said “Can I see that?”
    It was the first book Yen Press published.
    I truly believe that this was a book before it’s time, but I also think time will be on the side of this monumentally important work. I remember presenting this at a library seminar on graphic novels on Long Island, actually I let the librarian there Barbara Moon present it. She told the story of the book and how it related to her, the room was visibly moved. Everywhere I went people would relate to the book because of a friend or relative – someone they knew was autistic.
    The story that Keiko Tobe tells and her ability to convey emotion through her complex characters through her elegant art will live on and is a testament to her spirit and talent. I encourage you to pick up the first volume.
    I am proud to have been a very, very small part of her life.

  2. Thank you, Keiko Tobe, for your fine works! Thank you for spreading knowledge about the everyday lives of families with autism! We pray for your family, especially your son, who remain without you! May your memory carry them on.

  3. Oh, god damn it. My mom really likes that book. She hates manga, usually, and doesn’t get why I’m so big into comic art in general and Japanese comics and culture in particular. But she’s a former special ed teacher, and when I picked up With the Light for her she was intrigued by it, and asked for more. I’d get them from the library for her, and we talked about them a lot.

    Good bye, Ms. Tobe. You made a bridge between my mom’s world and mine. I’m grateful for that.

Comments are closed.