JIMAA: The Father of Manga & The Godfather of Anime Osamu Tezuka

Knowing the names of some of the people in manga and anime is important for otakus to know. That way you’ll know what you’re talking about and you’ll get to enjoy the awesome projects that these folks created. So without further ado, we’ll start this new series with the man who is know as the “Father of Manga”, “the  “the god of manga”, “kamisama of manga”and the “Godfather of Anime,” Osamu Tezuka.

Osamu_Tezuka_1951_Scan10008-2His life:

Born in Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan, on November 3rd, 1928 Tezuka was the oldest of three children. Inspired by his mother who encouraged her son and taking him to the Takarazuka Theatre, Tezuka started to draw comics around his second year of elementary school. During his fifth year of schooling he found a  his fifth year he found a ground beetle named “Osamushi”, and adopted the word as his pen name because the word  resembled his name. Tezuka came to the realize that he could use manga as means to help convince people to care for the world. Tezuka was just seventeen years old when World War II ended and created his first pieces of work Diary of Ma-chan and Shin Takarajima (New Treasure Island). These two works began the golden age of manga.

On February 9, 1989 died of stomach cancer in Tokyo. His last words were “I’m begging you, let me work!”

Did You Know?

When Tezuka’s was younger, both of his arms swelled up and he became sick. After being treated and cured by a doctor, Tezuka was inspired to become one. During his time as a university student, Tezuka began his career as a manga artist. He was conflicted about pursuing his manga career full-time or becoming a doctor. He turned to his mother who gave him this answer: “You should work doing the thing you like most of all.” Following his mother’s advice

Tezuka devoted himself to manga creation on a full-time basis and he still graduated from Osaka University and obtained his medical degree. He later used his medical and scientific knowledge to enrich his sci-fi manga such as Black Jack.

A few more facts:

  • Tezuka was a Superman fan and was made the honorary chairman of the Superman Fan Club in Japan.
  • 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, who wanted to hire Tezuka.
  • Tezuka is a descendent of Hattori Hanzo, a famous ninja and samurai who faithfully served Tokugawa Ieyasu during the Sengoku period in Japan.
  • Director Stanley Kubrick had watched Astro Boy and wanted to invite Tezuka to be the art director for the film,  2001: A Space Odyssey.  Because Tezuka couldn’t afford to leave his studio for year to live in England he had to turn Kubrick’s offer down. Tezuka was a huge fan of the film and would play the soundtrack at full blast in his studio to keep him awake during the long nights of work

Contribution to Anime:

Inspired by the cartoons of the time such as Betty Boop, and Walt Disney’s Bambi and Mickey Mouse, Tezuka invented the characteristic  “large eyes” style of Japanese animation. Tezuka headed the animation production studio Mushi Production (“Bug Production”), which pioneered TV animation in Japan.

His Works:

Tezuka is known for his imaginative stories and stylized Japanese adaptations of western literature which were inspired from him reading novels and watching films that came from the West. His early works included manga versions of Disney movies such as Bambi. His work, like other manga creators, was sometimes gritty and violent. I’m not going to list all of his works here as his complete manga work is over 700 manga with more than 150,000 pages! The list of anime is pretty long as well. I’ll name just a few.

Astro Boy

Black Jack

Princess Knight

Phoenix-— a story of life and death that he began in the 1950s and continued until his death. It was Tezuka’s life’s work.

Kimba the White Lion

Message to Adolf

Buddha

Metropolis

Princess Knight

Jungle Emperor

Cleopatra: Queen of Sex

Tezuka’s legacy continues even today. Many manga and anime artists such as Hayao Miyazaki and Akira Toriyama have been inspired by him. To learn more about the Godfather of Anime, visit Tezuka’s official website. This concludes this entry, until next time!

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