The Origin of Death Note?
Death Note, written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, was one of the most talked about manga in 2006. With the popularity of the manga, successful movie adaptions, and an anime TV series, Death Note was ranked as the No.1 anime and manga search term on Yahoo! Japan in 2006.
In early 2006, a Japanese blog published an article (the entry was taken down, but a Chinese version can be found here) about a 24-page one-shot called The Miraculous Notebook (不思議な手帖) by Shigeru Mizuki, which was published in the magazine Comic Mystery in 1973. The story of the one-shot revolves around a magical notebook: when a person's name is written on that notebook, the said person dies. Sounds familiar? Below is a summary (with some pictures) of the one-shot:
While the author of The Miraculous Notebook, Shigeru Mizuki, has created many popular works (such as Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro), only a handful of people today know about this one-shot. The only difference between The Miraculous Notebook and Death Note is that in Shigeru Mizuki's story there are no Shinigamis (Death Gods in Death Note), and the origin of the notebook was never explained.
Did the author of Death Note get his idea from Shigeru Mizuki's short story, or was the similarity between the two stories just a coincidence? The world may never know.
Update (2007-01-15): We may never know if Death Note was based on Shigeru Mizuki's one-shot...or do we?