Famous for his artwork on the Japanese manga series Bakuman, Death Note, and Hikaru no Go, he received the 1989 Tezuka Award; the 1999 Shogakukan Manga Award; and the 2003 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize.
He began his rise to fame in the mid-1980s, after publishing an acclaimed manga titled 500 Konen no Shinwa.
Death Note, his collaboration with writer Tsugumi Ohba, inspired an anime series and multiple films and had sold more than twenty-five million copies by 2008.
He spent his youth in Niigata, Japan.
He became the mentor of Rurouni Kenshin manga artist Nobuhiro Watsuki.