Tezuka in 1951
|Born||Tezuka Osamu (手塚 治?)
3 November 1928
Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan
|Died||9 February 1989
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Osamu Tezuka (手塚 治虫, born 手塚 治 Tezuka Osamu?, 3 November 1928 – 9 February 1989) was a Japanese manga artist, cartoonist, animator, film producer, and activist. Born in Osaka Prefecture, he is best known as the creator of the comics series Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, Black Jack, and Phoenix. 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.
Tezuka was the eldest of three children in Toyonaka City, Osaka. 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.
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.
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 Macoto 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.
Death and legacy
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.
His 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) have cited Tezuka as inspiration for their works.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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. Tezuka's "cinematic" page layouts, influenced by Milt Gross' early graphic novel He Done Her Wrong, which he read as a child, became a common characteristic for 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. The distinctive "large eyes" style of Japanese animation was invented by Tezuka, 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.
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".
- 1957 Shogakukan Manga Award for Manga Seminar on Biology and Biiko-chan
- 1975 Bungeishunjū manga Award
- 1975 Japan Cartoonists Association Award—Special Award
- 1977 Kodansha Manga Award for Black Jack and The Three-Eyed One
- 1980 Inkpot Award, San Diego Comic-Con
- 1983 Shogakukan Manga Award for Hidamari no Ki
- 1984 Animafest Zagreb Grand Prize for Jumping
- 1985 Hiroshima International Animation Festival for Onboro-Film
- 1986 Kodansha Manga Award for Message to Adolf
- 1989 Nihon SF Taisho Award – Special Award
- 1989 Order of the Sacred Treasure, 3rd class (posthumous)
- 2004 Eisner Award for Buddha (vols. 1–2)
- 2005 Eisner Award for Buddha (vols. 3–4)
- 2009 Eisner Award for Dororo
- 2014 Eisner Award for The Mysterious Underground Men
- Astro Boy, 1952–68. A sequel to Captain ATOM (1951), with Atom renamed Astro Boy in the US. as its main character. Eventually, Astro Boy would become Tezuka's most famous creation. He created the nuclear-powered, yet peace-loving, boy robot first after being punched in the face by a drunken GI. In 1963, Astro Boy made its debut as the first domestically produced animated program on Japanese television. The 30-minute weekly program (of which 193 episodes were produced) led to the first craze for anime in Japan. In America, the TV series (which consisted of 104 episodes licensed from the Japanese run) was also a hit, becoming the first Japanese animation to be shown on US television, although the U.S. producers downplayed and disguised the show's Japanese origins. Several other Astro Boy series have been made since, as well as a 2009 CGI-animated feature film Astro Boy.
- Phoenix, 1956–89. Tezuka's most profound and ambitious work, dealing with man's quest for immortality, ranging from the distant past to the far future. The central character is the Phoenix, the physical manifestation of the cosmos, who carries within itself the power of immortality; either granted by the Phoenix or taken from the Phoenix by drinking a small amount of its blood. Other characters appear and reappear throughout the series; usually due to their reincarnation. The work remained unfinished at the time of Tezuka's death in 1989. Phoenix has been filmed several times, most notably as Phoenix 2772 (1980). Baku Yumemakura was influenced by Phoenix; Yumemakura would go on to write the script for Boku no Son Goku.
- Black Jack, 1973–83. The story of Black Jack, a talented surgeon who operates illegally, using radical and supernatural techniques to combat rare afflictions. Black Jack received the Japan Cartoonists' Association Special Award in 1975 and the Koudansha Manga Award in 1977. Three Black Jack TV movies were released between 2000-01. In fall 2004, an anime TV series was aired in Japan with 61 episodes, releasing another movie afterward. A new series, titled Black Jack 21, started broadcasting on April 10, 2006. In September 2008, the first volume of the manga had been published in English by Vertical Publishing and more volumes are being published to this day.
- Buddha, 1972–83, is Tezuka's unique interpretation of the life of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The critically acclaimed series is often referred to as a gritty portrayal of the Buddha's life. The series began in September 1972 and ended in December 1983, as one of Tezuka's last epic manga works. Nearly three decades after the manga was completed, an anime film adaptation was released in 2011.
- Macoto Tezuka
- List of Osamu Tezuka manga
- List of Osamu Tezuka anime
- Tezuka Award
- Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize
- Osamu Tezuka: The Secret of Creation
- Dream Sparkles in the Sky – Osamu Tezuka's Summer Vacation
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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.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Osamu Tezuka.|
- TezukaOsamu.net Official site in Japanese and English
- Osamu Tezuka at Find a Grave
- Osamu Tezuka at the Internet Movie Database
- Osamu Tezuka at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Osamu Tezuka at Anime.com
- Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum Information page at TezukaOsamu.net
- Takarazuka city area Information page on city of Takarazuka municipal site (Japanese)
- Based on Osamu Tezuka movies or mangas [sic] at Universal Videogame List (Video games based on Osamu Tezuka works)
- Interview: Osamu Tezuka speaks at Hartford at the Wayback Machine (archived February 20, 2005)
- Osamu Tezuka, A Japanese Godfather of Modern Day Manga