Sugiura Shigeru started out as an assistant to the manga artist Suihō Tagawa. He began drawing his own manga in 1933. He was famous for his surreal, nonsense gag manga.
Sugiura influenced many artists in a variety of fields, including the gag manga artist Fujio Akatsuka. Enthusiastic fans included novelist Yasutaka Tsutsui and the musician Haruomi Hosono. He is cited as the inspiration for the tanuki in the Ghibli movie Pom Poko, and Miyazaki made a television commercial inspired by his work.