Kunihiko Shimonaka, former president of Heibonsha Ltd., a major Japanese encyclopedia and book publishing company, died last week at the age of 77, his family said Monday.

Shimonaka, also former chairman of the Japan Book Publishers Association, died of pneumonia-induced respiratory failure at 9:28 a.m. Thursday at a hospital in Tokyo’s Ota Ward, they said.

Shimonaka, a native of Tokyo, published several encyclopedias, including one with a worldwide focus as well as a national series, after taking over the presidency of the firm from his father, Yasaburo, in 1958.

He also started Japan’s first graphics magazine Taiyo (The Sun) in 1963.

Heibonsha is now headed by Shimonaka’s nephew, Naoto.

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