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Osamu Tezuka Manga Artist Profile

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Photo of manga artist Osamu Tezuka

Osamu Tezuka

©Tezuka Productions

Name:

Osamu Tezuka

Birth Date:

November 3, 1929 - February 9, 1989

Notable Comics & Graphic Novels:

Online Galleries:

Notable Accomplishments:

  • National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo hosted an exhibit of Tezuka's artwork in 1990; the first exhibit of its kind featuring manga as art
  • In 1994, the Osamu Tezuka Museum of Comic Art opened in Takarazuka, Japan
  • Japanese postal service issued Tezuka stamps in 1997

Fun Fact:

Before embarking on a career as a manga artist, Tezuka studied medicine, and he later earned his credentials as a doctor. His medical thriller, Black Jack is an excellent example of Tezuka taking his interest in the science and ethics of medicine and translating it into compelling storytelling.

TV Series & Movies (Partial List):

  • Astroboy
  • Kimba the White Lion (Jungle Taitei)
  • Princess Knight (Ribon no Kishi)
  • Metropolis
  • Black Jack

Biography in Brief:

Osamu Tezuka was born in Osaka at a time when Japan was facing its greatest changes and challenges as a nation. Western culture and art, once rare, were now readily available in Japanese society. Young Tezuka was greatly influenced by the early animated films of Walt Disney, and was especially fascinated by the artistry of Disney’s animated masterpieces, Snow White and Bambi.

While in college, Tezuka began cartooning and created New Treasure Island (Shintakarajima), which sold over 400,000 copies -- a staggering figure for a comic book at the time. His artwork for New Treasure Island is admired for its cinematic quality -- events and emotions unfold as if the reader were watching a film. Throughout his creative career, Tezuka pioneered the East-meets-West storytelling style that greatly influenced the development of modern manga. Later, Tezuka formed his own animation studio and his innovations in this industry influenced the evolution of a homegrown anime/animation industry that flourishes today.

Tezuka mentored and influenced many contemporary manga artists. His decision to draw characters with large eyes to enhance their expressive, emotional qualities has been passed down to many generations of artists who have followed in his footsteps. Today, the Asahi Shimbun, a major Japanese newspaper, honors excellence in contemporary manga with the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize.

Dr. Tezuka was not only innovative, he was extremely prolific. In his 40+ years as a cartoonist and animator, Tezuka created 700 stories and 17,000 pages of comic book art, and numerous popular and award-winning animated TV series and award-winning short films and feature-length movies.

Another remarkable aspect of Tezuka's career is his consistent ability to draw compelling, sensitive stories in a variety of genres, for almost all ages of readers. For example, Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion were meant for young boys. Princess Knight was created for Nakayoshi, a magazine for girls. With their complex, nuanced storylines and dynamic compositions, works such as Phoenix and Buddha were clearly meant for older audiences. And yet all of these works, no matter how different in tone, style and intended audience, still retain Tezuka’s style of drawing.

Dr. Tezuka died at the age of 60 in 1989, drawing and writing until the end. His lifework was honored by the opening of the Osamu Tezuka Museum of Cartoon Art in Takarazuka, Japan. Today, more and more of Tezuka’s manga is being translated into English, French, German and is readily available to comics connoisseurs worldwide.

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