OSAKA – Giichi Fujimoto, a novelist and well-known TV host, died Tuesday night of pneumonia at a hospital in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, a friend said. He was 79.
Fujimoto, whose real given name was Yoshikazu, started writing broadcast scripts while studying at Osaka Prefecture University. In 1957, he was given an education minister’s prize in the National Arts Festival for his radio drama “Tsubakuro no Uta.”
He then moved on to film screenplays, working under director Yuzo Kawashima.
While serving as a host for the popular “11PM” TV entertainment program, he stretched his writing career into novels and received the 1974 Naoki Award for serious fiction for “Oni no Uta.”
He was a vocal commentator on social issues troubling the Kansai region. He hailed from Sakai, Osaka Prefecture.
After the Great Hanshin Earthquake in January 1995, which left nearly 6,500 people dead, he set up a welfare institution for children who lost parents.
He also supported rebuilding the Hozenji Yokocho area in Osaka, known for its bars and diners, after a major fire struck in 2002.