The award-winning creator of the popular Tsuribaka Nisshi, Kitami's career is a total anomaly in the manga world.
After graduating in 1959, Kitami worked for a vinyl producing corporation for a few months. Soon realizing this wasn't his calling, he went on to visit an art school studying photography. After graduating from that school, he started working at a photo studio, when in 1964 the editors of Shounen Sunday introduced him to Akatsuka Fujio.
He became Akatsuka's assistant the same year. During this time he would occasionally write mangas under his own name, such as 1974's Yakeato Zengakiren.
However it wasn't until 1979 that Kitami, now aged 39, decided to leave Akatsuka's studio and embark on a full time solo career. The same year the aforementioned Tsuribaka Nisshi started serialization and became an instant hit.