Osamu Tezuka was a great Japanese cartoonist and Doctor of Medicine. Osamu started his career as a comic artist in 1946 with 'Machan no Nikkicho' ('Machan's Diary') for the children's magazine Mainichi Shogakusei Shinbun while he was a student at Osaka University. His first best-selling comic, 'Shin Takarajima' (New Treasure Island) appeared in 1947, followed three years later by 'Jungle Taitei', which was published in Manga-Shonen.
Dozens of other successes followed in all kinds of genres, like science fiction, horror, fantasy and funny animals. He created manga adaptations of 'King Kong' (1947), 'Faust' (1949), 'Pinocchio' (1952), 'Round the World in 80 Days' (1953) and 'Crime and Punishment' (1953). After the science fiction feature 'Lost World' in 1948, he did the ecological saga 'Jungle Tatei' in Manga Shônen between 1950 and 1954. In 1951, he created 'Atom Taishi', which was later renamed to 'Tetsuwan-Atom'. Know internationally as 'Astro Boy', this comic became Tezuka's best known work.
Other creations of the 1950s and 1960s are the girls' strip 'Ribon no Kishi' ('Ribon the Knight'), the western 'Lemon Kid', 'Ogon no Trunk' ('The Golden Trunk'), and the science fiction stories 'Majin Garon', 'O'Man', 'Captain Ken', 'Big X' and 'W3'. Then came the horror tale 'Vampire', 'Hinotori', the historical strip 'Dororo' and the medical series 'Black Jack'.
'Black Jack' ran in Shonen Champion for six years, starting in 1973, and has led to live-action and animated movies, as well as a musical version. In 1972, Tezuka started to work on 'Buddha', a manga adaptation of Buddha's life. Special mention should be given to 'Adolf ni Tsugu', an epic tale of more than 1,000 pages, about World War II and beyond. His final comics work was 'Hidamari no Ki' ('A Tree in the Sun').
From a very young age, Osamu Tezuka had been a great fan of Disney animation. Tezuka was also very successful in the animation field. Not only did he do the first TV show of animated cartoons (Astroboy, 1963), but he also produced the first Japanese color TV series (Jungle Tatei, 1965). Influenced by Disney and old movies, Tezuka has in turn influenced countless numbers of Japanese cartoonists. Tezuka's works are being reprinted again and again, earning him the undisputed title of 'King of Japanese Comics.' In 1994, the city of Takarazuka, where he grew up, inaugurated the Osamu Tezuka Museum of Comic Art. And in 1997, postage stamps with his artwork were sold in Japan.
The impact Tezuka has had on Japanese comics is almost impossible to exaggerate, because he created the present form of the medium. Maybe it stems from his medical education or from the Japanese character, but Tezuka had an enormous respect for life. This respect is a theme that can be traced throughout his work, the most important being 'Phoenix'. He has reportedly made about 150,000 comic strips in his life, and has been awarded many prizes for his efforts. Some of Tezuka's work has been translated into English, which is very laborious since the Japanese read from right to left. Other characters Osamu Tezuka created include Unico and Kimba.
Adolf ni Tsugu
In 2016 Toshio Ban, one of Tezuka's former assistants, published a 900 page biography, 'The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life in Manga and Anime', drawn in a manga style.