TOKYO, JAPAN - Popular Japanese cartoonist Yoshito Usui, whose manga and animation series 'Crayon Shin-chan' has attracted a worldwide fan base, has gone missing on a hiking trip, police said Wednesday.
Usui, 51, left his home north of Tokyo last Friday for a day-trip to mountains in nearby Gunma, a prefectural police official said.
But he has since been unaccounted for with calls to his mobile phone left unanswered, the official said. 'We are searching for him in the mountains.'
Usui made his debut as a manga author in 1987 and gained popularity in the 1990s with 'Crayon Shin-chan' featuring the daily life of Shinnosuke, a mischievous five-year-old boy.
'We are seriously worried,' said a spokesman for publisher Futabasha Publishers Ltd., which has released some of his comics.