Osamu Tezuka

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Osamu Tezuka
BornTezuka Osamu (手塚 治?)
(1928-11-03)3 November 1928
Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan
Died9 February 1989(1989-02-09) (aged 60)
Tokyo, Japan
Notable works
Spouse(s)Etsuko Okada (m. 1959–1989)
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"Tezuka" redirects here. For the surname, see Tezuka (surname).
In this Japanese name, the family name is "Tezuka".
Osamu Tezuka
BornTezuka Osamu (手塚 治?)
(1928-11-03)3 November 1928
Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan
Died9 February 1989(1989-02-09) (aged 60)
Tokyo, Japan
Notable works
Spouse(s)Etsuko Okada (m. 1959–1989)

Osamu Tezuka (手塚 治虫, born 手塚 治 Tezuka Osamu?, (1928-11-03)3 November 1928 – 9 February, 1989) was a Japanese cartoonist, animator, film producer, activist, and medical doctor who never practiced medicine. Born in Osaka Prefecture, he is best known as the creator of the comics series Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, and Black Jack. His prolific output, pioneering techniques, and innovative redefinitions of genres earned him such titles as "the father of manga", "the god of comics",[1] and "kamisama of manga".[2] Additionally, he is often credited as the "Godfather of Anime" and is considered the Japanese equivalent to Walt Disney, who served as a major inspiration during Tezuka's formative years.[3]

Early life[edit]

Osamu Tezuka was born the eldest of three children in Toyonaka City, Osaka.[4][5] His nickname was gashagasha-atama (gashagasha is slang for messy, atama means head). His mother often comforted him by telling him to look to the blue skies, giving him confidence. His mother's stories inspired his creativity as well. Tezuka grew up in Takarazuka City, Hyōgo and his mother often took him to the Takarazuka Theatre. The Takarazuka Revue is performed by women, including the male characters. The Takarazuka Revue is known for its romantic musicals usually aimed at a female audience, thus having a large impact on the later works of Tezuka, including his costuming designs. He has said that he has a profound "spirit of nostalgia" for Takarazuka.[6]

Tezuka started to draw comics around his second year of elementary school. Around his fifth year he found a bug named "Osamushi". It so resembled his name that he adopted osamushi as his pen name. He 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, he created his first piece of work (at age 17), Diary of Ma-chan and then Shin Takarajima (New Treasure Island), which began the golden age of manga, a craze comparable to American comic books at the time.[7]


As an indication of his productivity, the comprises some 400 volumes, over 80,000 pages; even so, it is not comprehensive. His complete oeuvre includes over 700 volumes with more than 150,000 pages.[8][9]

When he was younger, 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. However, he began his career as a manga artist while a university student, drawing his first professional work while at school. 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.[9][10]

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 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.[11]

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). Tezuka could not afford to leave his studio for a year to live in England, so he refused. 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.[12][13]

Many young manga artists once lived in the apartment where Tezuka lived, Tokiwa-sō. The residents included Shotaro Ishinomori, Fujio Akatsuka, and Abiko Motou and Hiroshi Fujimoto (who worked together under the pen name Fujiko Fujio).[14][15]

Death and legacy[edit]

Tezuka died of stomach cancer on 9 February 1989 in Tokyo,[1] coming about one month after the death of Hirohito, who had been the Shōwa Emperor of Japan, including during World War II. His last words were: "I'm begging you, let me work!"[16]

The city of Takarazuka, Hyōgo, where Tezuka grew up, opened a museum in his memory.[5] 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's legacy has continued to be honored among Manga artists and animators. Artists such as Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away) and Akira Toriyama (Dr. Slump and Dragon Ball),[17] have cited Tezuka as inspiration for their works.

From 2003 to 2009, Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki adapted an arc of Astro Boy into the murder mystery series Pluto.[18] Tezuka was a personal friend (and apparent artistic influence) of Brazilian comic book artist Mauricio de Sousa. In 2012, Mauricio 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 in the jungles of the Amazon. This was the first time that Tezuka Productions has allowed overseas animators to use Tezuka's characters.[19]


Tezuka is known for his imaginative stories and stylized Japanese adaptations of western literature with reading novels and watching films that came from the West. His early works included manga versions of Disney movies such as Bambi.[20] Tezuka "cinematic" page layouts, influenced by Milt Gross' early graphic novel He Done Her Wrong which he read as child became a common characteristic for many manga artists who followed in Tezuka's footsteps.[21] 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.[22] The distinctive "large eyes" style of Japanese animation was invented by Tezuka,[23] drawing inspirations on Western cartoons and animated films of the time such as Betty Boop, Mickey Mouse and many Disney movies.


Selected manga and anime[edit]

For a more complete list, see List of Osamu Tezuka manga and List of Osamu Tezuka anime


The Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum

The Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum (宝塚市立手塚治虫記念館?, lit. "Takarazuka's Tezuka Osamu Memorial Hall") 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.

On the ground floor on the way before the building's entrance, 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.

On the first floor are held several exhibitions and are available a manga library, with five hundred works of Tezuka (some foreign editions are also present), a video library and a lounge with a decor inspired by Kimba the White Lion.

There is also a center of glass that represents the planet Earth and is based on a book written by him in his childhood called "Our Earth of Glass".

Personal life[edit]

Tezuka is a descendent of Hattori Hanzo,[34] a famous ninja and samurai who faithfully served Tokugawa Ieyasu during the Sengoku period in Japan. His son Macoto Tezuka, would later become a film and anime director.[35] Tezuka gave guidance to 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.[35][36] Tezuka met Walt Disney in person, who wanted to hire Tezuka. Tezuka was a fan of Superman and was made honorary chairman of the Superman Fan Club in Japan.[37]

Tezuka was an agnostic, but was buried in a Buddhist cemetery in Tokyo.[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Patten, Fred (2004). Watching Anime, Reading Manga: 25 Years of Essays and Reviews. Stone Bridge Press. p. 198. ISBN 1-880656-92-2. 
  2. ^ 関厚夫 (2009-11-03). "【次代への名言】手塚治虫編(1)". sankeishimbun. Retrieved 2009-11-03. [dead link]
  3. ^ Tezuka Osamu Monogatari, 1992, published by Tezuka Productions.
  4. ^ Patten, Fred (2004). Watching Anime, Reading Manga: 25 Years of Essays and Reviews. Stone Bridge Press. p. 145. ISBN 1-880656-92-2. 
  5. ^ a b Galbraith, Patrick W. (2009). The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider's Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan. Kodansha International. pp. 220–221. ISBN 978-4-7700-3101-3. 
  6. ^ Gravett, Paul (2004). Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics. Harper Design. p. 77. ISBN 1-85669-391-0. 
  7. ^ Wells, Dominic (2008-09-13). "Osamu Tezuka the master of mighty manga". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  8. ^ Katayama, Lisa (2007-05-31). "Museum Show Spotlights Artistry of Manga God Osamu Tezuka". Wired. Condé Nast Publications. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  9. ^ a b "The Story of Tezuka, Osamu". TezukaOsamu@World. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  10. ^ Santiago, Ardith. "Tezuka: God of Comics". Hanabatake.com. Archived from the original on 2007-07-16. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  11. ^ Patten, Fred (2004). Watching Anime, Reading Manga: 25 Years of Essays and Reviews. Stone Bridge Press. p. 199. ISBN 1-880656-92-2. 
  12. ^ "Osamu Star Annals: 1960s at TezukaOsamu@World". TezukaOsamu@World. Tezuka Productions. Retrieved 2007-08-11. 
  13. ^ "Tezuka Osamu". Japan Zone. Retrieved 2007-08-11. 
  14. ^ Tchiei, Go (1998). "Tezuka Osamu and the Expressive Techniques of Contemporary Manga". Dai Nippon Printing. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  15. ^ Gerow, Aaron (1996-03-28). "Drawn to a Legend". Yomiuri Shimbun. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  16. ^ Takayuki Matsutani (date unknown). Viz Media's English language release of the Hi no Tori manga. In an afterword written by Takayuki Matsutani, president of Mushi Productions.
  17. ^ "Shonen Jump interview". myfavoritegames.com. Retrieved 2013-03-25. 
  18. ^ "Jason Thompson's House of 1000 Manga - Pluto". Anime News Network. 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  19. ^ Hirayama, Ari (February 1, 2012). "Brazilian cartoonist to publish manga with Osamu Tezuka". Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  20. ^ Patten, Fred (2004). Watching Anime, Reading Manga: 25 Years of Essays and Reviews. Stone Bridge Press. p. 234. ISBN 1-880656-92-2. 
  21. ^ "A Yiddishe Manga: The Creative Roots of Japan's God of Comics". Innovative Research in Japanese Studies. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  22. ^ a b Foster, Melanie. "Osamu Tezuka, Animation Pioneer". Archived from the original on 2007-10-24. Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  23. ^ Patten, Fred (2004). Watching Anime, Reading Manga: 25 Years of Essays and Reviews. Stone Bridge Press. p. 144. ISBN 1-880656-92-2. 
  24. ^ a b "小学館漫画賞: 歴代受賞者" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  25. ^ a b Hahn, Joel. "Kodansha Manga Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2007-08-21. 
  26. ^ "Osamu Tezuka's The Mysterious Underground Men Wins Eisner Award". Anime News Network. July 26, 2014. Retrieved July 26, 2014. 
  27. ^ a b "Mighty Tezuka!" Bluefat, January 2001
  28. ^ Company Profile, 1963
  29. ^ [1]
  30. ^ Ladd, Fred (2009). Astro Boy and anime come to the Americas: an insider's view of the birth of a pop culture phenomenon. McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-7864-3866-2. 
  31. ^ Schodt, Frederik L. "Introduction." Astro Boy Volume 1 (Comic by Osamu Tezuka). Dark Horse Comics and Studio Proteus. Page 3 of 3 (The introduction section has 3 pages). ISBN 1-56971-676-5.
  32. ^ Ladd, Fred (2009). Astro Boy and anime come to the Americas: an insider's view of the birth of a pop culture phenomenon. McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-7864-3866-2. 
  33. ^ "Vertical Adds Princess Knight, Drops of God Manga (Updated)". Anime News Network. 
  34. ^ Tezuka Osamu Permanent Exhibition, Birth, Accessed 2011-10-18
  35. ^ a b Biography for Osamu Tezuka at the Internet Movie Database
  36. ^ Japan, Hockey, Baseball, etc., "The Four Lions of Asia", Accessed 2011-09-22
  37. ^ "About Osamu Tezuka". 
  38. ^ Frederik L. Schodt (2007). The Astro Boy Essays: Osamu Tezuka, Mighty Atom, and the Manga/Anime Revolution. Stone Bridge Press, Inc. p. 141. ISBN 9781933330549. "His family was associated with a Zen Buddhist sect, and Tezuka is buried in a Tokyo Buddhist cemetery, but his views on religion were actually quite agnostic and as flexible as his views on politics." 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]