Osamu Tezuka (Japanese: 手塚 治虫, born 手塚 治 Hepburn: Tezuka Osamu, 3 November 1928 – 9 February 1989) was a Japanese manga artist, cartoonist, animator, and film producer. Born in Osaka Prefecture, his prolific output, pioneering techniques, and innovative redefinitions of genres earned him such titles as "the father of manga", "the godfather of manga" and "the god of manga". Additionally, he is often considered the Japanese equivalent to Walt Disney, who served as a major inspiration during Tezuka's formative years. Though this phrase praises the quality of his early manga works for children and animations, it also blurs the significant influence of his later, more literary, gekiga works.
Tezuka began what was known as the manga revolution in Japan with his New Treasure Island published in 1947. His legendary output would spawn some of the most influential, successful, and well received manga series including the children mangas Astro Boy, Princess Knight and Kimba the White Lion, and the adult oriented series Black Jack, Phoenix, and Buddha, all of which won several awards.
Tezuka died of stomach cancer in 1989. His death had an immediate impact on the Japanese public and other cartoonists. A museum was constructed in Takarazuka dedicated to his memory and life works, and Tezuka received many posthumous awards. Several animations were in production at the time of his death along with the final chapters of Phoenix, which were never released.
Tezuka in 1951
Tezuka Osamu (手塚 治)
3 November 1928
Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan
|Died||9 February 1989 (aged 60)|
Etsuko Okada (m. 1959–1989)
Tezuka was the eldest of three children in Toyonaka, Osaka. The Tezuka family were prosperous and well-educated; his father Yutaka worked in management at Sumitomo Metals, his grandfather Taro was a lawyer, and his great-grandfather Ryoan and great-great-grandfather Ryosen were doctors. His mother's family had a long military history. Tezuka's nickname was gashagasha-atama (gashagasha is slang for messy, atama means head). Later in life, he gave his mother credit for inspiring confidence and creativity through her stories. She frequently took him to the Takarazuka Grand Theater, which often headlined the Takarazuka Revue, an all-female musical theater troupe. Their romantic musicals aimed at a female audience, had a large influence of Tezuka's later works, including his costume designs. Not only that, but the large, sparkling eyes also had an influence on Tezuka's art style. He has said that he has a profound "spirit of nostalgia" for Takarazuka. When Tezuka was young, his father showed him Disney films; he became obsessed with the films and began to replicate them. He also became a Disney movie buff, seeing the films multiple times in a row, most famously seeing Bambi more than 80 times. Tezuka started to draw comics around his second year of elementary school, drawing so much that his mother would have to erase pages in his notebook in order to keep up with his output. Tezuka was also inspired by works by Suihō Tagawa and Unno Juza. Around his fifth year he found a bug named "Osamushi". It so resembled his name that he adopted "Osamushi" as his pen name. He continued to develop his manga skills throughout his school career. During this period he created his first adept amateur works. During high school in 1944, Tezuka was drafted to work for a factory, supporting the Japanese war effort during World War II; he simultaneously continued writing manga. In 1945, Tezuka was accepted into Osaka University and began studying medicine. During this time, he also began publishing his first professional works.
Tezuka came to the realization that he could use manga as a means of helping to convince people to care for the world. After World War II, at age 17, he published his first piece of work: Diary of Ma-chan. Tezuka began talks with fellow manga artist Shichima Sakai, who had pitched Tezuka a manga based around the famous story Treasure Island. Sakai promised Tezuka a publishing spot from Ikuei Shuppan if he would work on the manga. Tezuka finished the manga, only loosely basing it on the original work. Shin Takarajima (New Treasure Island) was published and became an overnight success which began the golden age of manga, a craze comparable to American comic books at the time.
In 1951, Tezuka joined a group known as Tokyo Children Manga Association consisting of other manga artists such as Baba Noboru, Ota Jiro, Furusawa Hideo, Fukui Eiichi, Irie Shigeru, and Negishi Komichi.
With the success of New Treasure Island, Tezuka traveled to Tokyo in search of a publisher for more of his work. After visiting Kobunsha Tezuka was turned down. However, publisher Shinseikaku agreed to purchase The Strange Voyage of Dr. Tiger and Domei Shuppansha would purchase The Mysterious Dr. Koronko. Whilst continuing his study in medical school Tezuka published his first masterpieces: a trilogy of science fiction epics called Lost World, Metropolis and Next World.
Soon after Tezuka published his first major success Jungle Emperor Leo, it was serialized in Manga Shonen from 1950 to 1954. In 1951 Tezuka graduated from the Osaka School of Medicine and published Ambassador Atom, the first appearance of the Astro Boy character.
By 1952, Ambassador Atom proved to be only a mild success in Japan; however, one particular character became extremely popular with young boys: a humanoid robot named Atom. Tezuka received several letters from many young boys. Expecting success with a series based around Atom, Tezuka's producer suggested that he be given human emotions. One day while working at a hospital Tezuka was punched in the face by a frustrated American G.I. This encounter gave Tezuka the idea to create Atom. On February 4, 1952, Tetsuwan Atom began serialization in Weekly Shonen Magazine. The character Atom and his adventures became an instant phenomenon in Japan.
In 1954 Tezuka first published what he would consider his life's work, Phoenix, which originally appeared in Mushi Production Commercial Firm. In 1958 Tezuka was asked by Toei Animation if his manga Son-Goku The Monkey could be adapted into an animation. It was widely reported that Tezuka worked as a director on the film, though Tezuka himself denied working on it. He was only involved in its promotion, which later sparked his interest in the animation industry. The film was released as Alakazam the Great in 1960.
In 1961, Tezuka entered the animation industry in Japan by founding the production company Mushi Productions as a rivalry with Toei Animation. He first began innovating the industry with the broadcast of the animated version of Astro Boy in 1963; this series would create the first successful model for animation production in Japan and would also be the first Japanese animation dubbed into English for an American audience. Other series were subsequently translated to animation, including Jungle Emperor, the first Japanese animated series produced in full color. Tezuka stepped down as acting director in 1968 to found a new animation studio, Tezuka Productions, and continued experimenting with animation late into his life. In 1973, Mushi Productions collapsed financially and the fallout would produce several influential animation production studios including Sunrise.
In 1967, in response to the magazine Garo and the gekiga movement, Tezuka created the magazine COM. Together with this, he radically changed his style as a comic book artist from the cartoony Disney-esque slapstick towards a more realistic drawing style as well as the themes of these books became focused on an adult audience. Besides the well known series Phoenix, Black Jack and Buddha that are drawn in this style he also produced a vast amount of one shots or shorter series like Ayako, Ode to Kirihito, Message to Adolf, Swallowing the Earth, Alabaster, Apollo's Song, Barbara, MW, Dororo, I.L., Ludwig B, The Book of Human Insects and a large amount of short stories that were later on collectively published in books as Under the Air, Clockwork Apple, The Crater, Melody of Iron and other short stories, Record of the Glass Castle.
The change of his manga from children to more 'literary' gekiga manga started with the yokai manga Dororo in 1967. This yokai-manga was influenced by the success of and a response on Shigeru Mizuki's GeGeGe no Kitarō. Simultaneously he also produces Vampires that, like Dororo also introduces a stronger, more coherent story line and a shift in the drawing style. After these two he starts his really first gekiga attempt with Swallowing the Earth. Dissatisfied with the result he soon after produces I.L. (not published in English yet). Also his masterpiece Phoenix starts in 1967. A vast amount of one shots and short series follows in the years after: Ode to Kirihito, Alabaster, Apollo's Song, Barbara, Ayako, the Book of Human Insects are all gekiga graphic novels from this area. Under the Air, The Crater, Clockwork Apple, Melody of Iron and Record of the Glass Castle are collections of short gekiga stories that were drawn in those same years. A common element in all these books and short stories is the very dark immoral nature of the main characters. Also the stories are filled with explicit violence, erotic scenes, and crimes. Probably the most depraved story of this area is MW (1976). Tezuka would become a bit milder in narrative tone in the 80s with his follow up works such as Message to Adolf, Midnight and (the unfinished) Ludwig B and Neo Faust.
The city of Takarazuka, Hyōgo, where Tezuka grew up, opened a museum in his memory. Stamps were issued in his honor in 1997. Also, beginning in 2003, the Japanese toy company Kaiyodo began manufacturing a series of figurines of Tezuka's creations, including Princess Knight, Unico, the Phoenix, Dororo, Marvelous Melmo, Ambassador Magma, and many others. To date, three series of the figurines have been released.
Tezuka was a personal friend (and apparent artistic influence) of Brazilian comic book artist Mauricio de Sousa. In 2012, Maurício published a two-issue story arc in the Monica Teen comic book featuring some of Tezuka's main characters, such as Astro Boy, Black Jack, Sapphire, and Kimba, joining Monica and her friends in an adventure in the Amazon rainforest against a smuggling organization chopping down hundreds of trees. This was the first time that Tezuka Productions has allowed overseas artists to use Tezuka's characters.
Tezuka is a descendent of Hattori Hanzō, a famous ninja and samurai who faithfully served Tokugawa Ieyasu during the Sengoku period in Japan. His son Makoto Tezuka became a film and anime director. Tezuka guided many well-known manga artists such as Shotaro Ishinomori and Go Nagai.
Tezuka enjoyed bug-collecting, entomology, Walt Disney, baseball, and licensed the "grown up" version of his character Kimba the White Lion as the logo for the Seibu Lions of the Nippon Professional Baseball League. Tezuka met Walt Disney in person at the 1964 New York World's Fair. In a 1986 entry in his personal diary, Tezuka stated that Disney wanted to hire him for a potential science fiction project. Tezuka was a fan of Superman and was made honorary chairman of the Superman Fan Club in Japan. In 1959 Tezuka married Etsuko Okada at a Takarazuka Hotel.
As a child, Tezuka's arms swelled up and he became ill. He was treated and cured by a doctor, which made him want to be a doctor. At a crossing point, he asked his mother whether he should look into doing manga full-time or whether he should become a doctor. At the time, being a manga author was not a particularly rewarding job. The answer his mother gave was: "You should work doing the thing you like most of all." Tezuka decided to devote himself to manga creation on a full-time basis. He graduated from Osaka University and obtained his medical degree, but he would later use his medical and scientific knowledge to enrich his sci-fi manga, such as Black Jack.
Tezuka's creations include Astro Boy (Mighty Atom in Japan), Black Jack, Princess Knight, Phoenix (Hi no Tori in Japan), Kimba the White Lion (Jungle Emperor in Japan), Unico, Message to Adolf, The Amazing 3 and Buddha. His "life's work" was Phoenix—a story of life and death that he began in the 1950s and continued until his death.
In January 1965, Tezuka received a letter from American film director Stanley Kubrick, who had watched Astro Boy and wanted to invite Tezuka to be the art director of his next movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Although flattered by Kubrick's invitation, Tezuka could not afford to leave his studio for a year to live in England, so he had to turn it down. Although he could not work on it, he loved the film, and would play its soundtrack at maximum volume in his studio to keep him awake during long nights of work.
Tezuka is known for his imaginative stories and stylized Japanese adaptations of western literature. Tezuka's "cinematic" page layouts was influenced by Milt Gross' early graphic novel He Done Her Wrong. He read this book as child, and its style characterized many manga artists who followed in Tezuka's footsteps. His work, like that of other manga creators, was sometimes gritty and violent.
Tezuka headed the animation production studio Mushi Production ("Bug Production"), which pioneered TV animation in Japan. He invented the distinctive "large eyes" style of Japanese animation, drawing inspiration from Western cartoons and animated films of the time such as Betty Boop, Mickey Mouse, and other Disney movies.
The Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum (宝塚市立手塚治虫記念館, lit. "Takarazuka City Tezuka Osamu Memorial Hall"), located in the city of Takarazuka, Hyōgo Prefecture, was inaugurated on April 25, 1994, and has three floors (15069.47 ft²). In the basement there is an "Animation Workshop" in which visitors can make their own animation, and a mockup of the city of Takarazuka and a replica of the table where Osamu Tezuka worked.
Outside of the building's entrance, there are imitations of the hands and feet of several characters from Tezuka (as in a true walk of fame) and on the inside, the entry hall, a replica of Princess Knight's furniture. On the same floor is a permanent exhibition of manga and a room for the display of anime. The exhibition is divided into two parts: Osamu Tezuka and the city of Takarazuka and Osamu Tezuka, the author.
The second floor contains, along with several exhibitions, a manga library with five hundred works of Tezuka (some foreign editions are also present), a video library, and a lounge with decor inspired by Kimba the White Lion.
There is also a glass sculpture that represents the planet Earth and is based on a book written by Tezuka in his childhood called "Our Earth of Glass."
Astro Boy, known in Japan by its original name Mighty Atom (Japanese: 鉄腕アトム, Hepburn: Tetsuwan Atomu), is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Osamu Tezuka. It was serialized in Weekly Shonen Magazine from 1952 to 1968. The original 112 chapters were collected into 23 tankōbon volumes by Kodansha. The English volumes would not become available until 2002 when the rights were licensed by Dark Horse. The story follows the protagonist, Astro Boy, an android with human emotions who is created by Umataro Tenma after the death of his son. Eventually, Astro is sold to a robot circus run by Hamegg, but is saved from his servitude by Professor Ochanomizu. Astro becomes a surrogate son to Ochanomizu who creates a robotic family for Astro and helps him to live a normal life like an average human boy, whilst accompanying him on many adventures.Astro Boy has been adapted into three anime series produced respectively by Mushi Production and Tezuka Productions, with a fourth series in development. The manga was originally produced for TV as Astro Boy, the first popular animated Japanese television series that embodied the aesthetic that later became familiar worldwide as anime. After enjoying success abroad, Astro Boy was remade in the 1980s as New Mighty Atom, known as Astroboy in other countries, and again in 2003. In November 2007, he was named Japan's envoy for overseas safety. An American computer-animated film based on the original manga series by Tezuka was released on October 23, 2009. In March 2015, a trailer was released announcing a new animated series. The success of the manga and anime series led it to becoming a major media franchise consisting of films including a major motion picture, a number of soundtracks and a library of Video Games. The series was also among the first to embrace mass merchandise including action figures, collectible figurines, food products, clothing, stamps and trading cards. By 2004, the franchise had generated $3 billion in merchandise sales, making it one of the highest-grossing manga/anime media franchises.
Astro Boy has become one of the most successful manga and anime franchises in the world. The combined 23 tankōbon volumes have sold over 100 million copies worldwide making it the tenth best-selling manga series of all time. The 1963 anime series was an astounding success it became a mainstream hit on television in both Japan and the United States. Astro Boy has been praised for its importance in developing the anime and manga industry. It has been featured on numerous greatest anime of all time lists and has partially inspired other authors in the creation of influential manga.Ayako (manga)
Ayako (奇子) is a manga trilogy by Osamu Tezuka. It was serialized in Big Comic, a manga magazine published by Shogakukan. It is licensed in North America by Vertical. It is also licensed in France by Delcourt/Akata, in Italy by Hazard Edizioni, and in Brazil by Veneta.
The story is about a post-World War II Japanese family, the Tenge, who have to cope with economic and family tensions while the country is under reconstruction.Birdman Anthology
Birdman Anthology (鳥人大系, Chōjin Taikei) is a manga by Osamu Tezuka that began serialization in 1971.Don Dracula
Don Dracula (ドン・ドラキュラ, Don Dorakyura) is a manga by Osamu Tezuka that began serialization in 1979. An anime television series aired from April 5 to April 26, 1982.Dororo
Dororo (Japanese: どろろ) is a Japanese manga series from the manga creator Osamu Tezuka in the late 1960s. An anime television series based on the manga consists of 26 half-hour episodes that aired in 1969. It was also made into a live-action film in 2007. A second anime television series adaptation consisting of 24 episodes by MAPPA and Tezuka Productions premiered on January 7, 2019.
During the late 1960s, manga featuring demons was popular among kids. Dororo was first serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday between August 27, 1967, and July 22, 1968, before being cancelled. Parallel to the anime broadcast the manga was then concluded in Akita Shoten's Bōken'ō magazine.
Tezuka's childhood memory of his friends pronouncing dorobō (どろぼう, "thief") as dororo inspired the title of this work. In the live action movie series, the name is explained to be a southern term for Hyakkimaru, meaning "Little Monster".
The anime series bears the distinction of being the first entry in what is now known as the World Masterpiece Theater series.Faust (manga)
Faust (ファウスト, Fausuto) is a manga by Osamu Tezuka that was published in tankōbon form in 1950.Fumoon
Fumoon (フウムーン) is a Japanese science-fiction animated film by Osamu Tezuka. It is based on the manga Nextworld.Grand Dolls
Grand Dolls (グランドール, Guran Dōru) is a manga by Osamu Tezuka that began serialization in 1968.Gringo (manga)
Gringo (Japanese: グリンゴ, Hepburn: Guringo) is a manga series by Osamu Tezuka that began serialization in 1987 in the Shogakukan manga magazine Big Comic.List of Osamu Tezuka anime
This is a list of Osamu Tezuka's notable anime work in alphabetical order. This list of anime includes all those listed on Tezuka's official site as well as others that are directly based on his work, but not listed on the site yet. The English translations of the names used are from the original names found on the official Osamu Tezuka website.List of Osamu Tezuka manga
This is a list of Osamu Tezuka's manga work in alphabetical order. The English translations of the names used are from the original names found on the official Osamu Tezuka website.This is not a complete list of Tezuka's manga creations. While Tezuka created more than 700 manga series during his life, this list focuses on what his official website deems his more notable works by having individual pages devoted. Also counted among them are manga from the Osamu Tezuka Manga Complete Works collection published by Kodansha.Rainbow Parakeet
Rainbow Parakeet (七色いんこ, Nana-iro Inko) (German: Regenbogenfarbener Papagei) is a manga series created by Osamu Tezuka dealing with the adventures of the eponymous phantom thief. Collected in seven volumes, it has been published in France by Asuka.Suspicion (manga)
Suspicion (サスピション, Sasupishon) is a manga by Osamu Tezuka, and also the name of one of his books in Kodansha's line of "Osamu Tezuka Manga Complete Works" books containing a collection of Tezuka's short stories. The stories included in this book are "Suspicion", "Insect Collector", "Insect Collector - The Butterfly Road Smells of Death", "Volcanic Eruption", "Peace Concert", "Activist Student", and "Old Folk's Home".Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize
Named after Osamu Tezuka, the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize (手塚治虫文化賞, Tezuka Osamu Bunkashō) is a yearly manga prize awarded to manga artists or their works that follow the Osamu Tezuka manga approach founded and sponsored by Asahi Shimbun. The prize has been awarded since 1997, in Tokyo, Japan.The Adventure of Rock
The Adventure of Rock (ロック冒険記, Rokku Bōken-ki) is a manga by Osamu Tezuka that began serialization in 1952.The Fossil Island
The Fossil Island (化石島, Kasekitō) is a Japanese manga by Osamu Tezuka that was published as a book in 1951.Triton of the Sea
Triton of the Sea (海のトリトン, Umi no Toriton) is a manga series created by Osamu Tezuka, and an anime directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino based on the manga. The series, which had 27 episodes, was broadcast from April 1 to September 30, 1972. Digital Manga successfully crowd-funded the U.S. release of the manga on Kickstarter in 2012.Unico
Unico (ユニコ, Yuniko) is a manga and anime character by Osamu Tezuka. Unico is a baby unicorn with white fur, a pink mane, and little cinnamon bun-shaped ears, who was born with the very special gift of making all living creatures lighthearted and happy.
His friends in the various manga and anime incarnations of his story include Beezle, the young Devil of Solitude from Scottish Mythology (part of Celtic Mythology); Chao (or "Katy" in the English anime), a naive little kitty who longs to be a human girl, and to learn magic from a real witch; a spunky little Sphinx (in the second film), and a warm-hearted human girl named Cheri.
Works by Osamu Tezuka
Shogakukan Manga Award – General