Tezuka Osamu, born in 1928 in Osaka, Japan, moved to Takarazuka city at the age of 5, the time he began to understand things, and spent his adolescence and youth till he became 24 years old. Takarazuka, known as a stylish place now, was also modern even at his days. There were some sophisticated buildings such as Takarazuka Grand Theater and Takarazuka Hotel. On the other side, the city was in the heart of nature’s bounty surrounded with rivers and mountains near by.
Actually Takarazuka inspired Tezuka greatly. He may have imagined the futuristic city in “Astro Boy” from the sophisticated buildings or developed his fantasy represented in “Princess Knight” through his encounter with Takarazuka Revue. He was also learned any tiny life is beautiful and precious through observing insects and other small animals inhabiting the area, which is obvious that such experience become the base of his creation of “Jungle Emperor”.
Tezuka experienced WWII when he was in Takarazuka. Later he repeatedly wrote about absurdity or reasonableness common in the adult society and our ardent hope for the peace in his work. If he had not spent his youth in Takarazuka, he may have written something different. Tezuka kept writing about the despair experienced when beautiful things were destroyed, seized or burned out and the dynamism of life yet sprouting out from the scorched earth.
Tezuka Osamu Magna Museum was established in Takarazuka not only because it’s his hometown but also the place inspired his works deeply. The museum is located here to commemorate and introduce his great achievement to wide visitors.
Permanent Exhibition: 1
Takarazuka and Tezuka Osamu
Here we trace his path from his birth till his debut as a manga artist, introducing how a boy good at and interested in drawing gat into the creative activities of manga.
Tezuka Osamu was born in Toyonaka City, Osaka Prefecture on November 3, 1928 as the eldest son of Tezuka Yutaka and Fumiko. Since November 3 fell on the birthday of the late Emperor Meiji, he was named Osamu using one of the Chinese characters for the name of the Emperor. His father, Yutaka, was working for Sumitomo Metals, and his mother, Fumiko, was a daughter of a military man. His grandfather on his father's side, Taro, was a lawyer, and his grand-grandfather, Ryoan, was a medical doctor, as Tezuka Osamu later described in “Tezuka's Ancestor, Dr. Ryoan”. One of the ancestors on his mother's side was Hattori Hanzo, a ninja. Yutaka's hobbies included photography and movies. Fumiko was an enthusiastic Takarazuka Revue fan and a good talker. Tezuka's were a family with many interests, but they also maintained strict discipline.
Relocation to Takarazuka
When Tezuka Osamu was five years old, his family moved to a villa Tezuka Taro had built in Gotenyama, Takarazuka City. Gotenyama is a residential area today, but at that time, foxes and raccoons inhabited thickets of various kinds of trees there, and it was a treasure house of insects. Takarazuka was also a modern city with its Takarazuka Grand Theater, Takarazuka Luna Park, Takarazuka Hotel, Takarazuka Golf Club, dance halls, etc., an atmosphere that helped foster the modernism of Tezuka Osamu 's manga.
The Development of a Great Talent (Elementary School)
Tezuka Osamu had been fond of drawing pictures since he was a small child. Even when he was in bad humor, he broke into a smile the moment he was given a sketchbook, and soon became engrossed in drawing pictures. Tezuka Osamu's parents used to place sketchbooks by their children's bedsides every night.
In 1935, Tezuka Osamu started going to elementary school. There, he drew manga and created picture cards for circulation among the classmates. The character “Hyotantsugi” appeared in his early picture cards drawn when he was in the second and third grades.
When he was in the third grade, he drew the several-page-long manga “Pin Pin Sei-chan,” which won popularity among the teachers as well.
In the fifth grade, he started to use the pen name “Osamushi,” which was taken from the name of a beetle, for his drawings and other works.
The Development of a Great Talent (Junior High-school days)
Tezuka enters junior high school in April 1941. The Pacific War breaks out on December 8 in the same year.
Tezuka belonged at the art group and spent an emotional age while learning the picture, the insect collection, the science magazine and editing the companion with classmate.
The cartoon comes to draw the real one that the Indian ink and the pen were used at the end of the trial and error, and one of the story he wrote in his junior high-school days is showing the foreword to have a presentiment of the birth of the story cartoon. “Lost the world” was start with the introduction words, “this is not just a cartoon but also a novel”.
Moreover, Tezuka modeled his classmate to write “Higeoyaji” that is first “Higeoyaji” appearing, and having become an important character of Tezuka's cartoon.
There was an encouragement of the teacher who had understanding, too and bloom the talent to the cartoon person to Tezuka though doing the cartoon became impossible in the war the age.
Tezuka Osamu and Manga
Tezuka encountered manga early on in his life.
His father, Yutaka, was so enthusiastic about manga that he himself drew them before he married. Although his interest shifted to photography after his marriage, the bookshelves in his study were filled with the complete works of Kitazawa Rakuten and other adult cartoonists of the time. The young Tezuka Osamu was exposed to these manga in his father's study.
In addition, Yutaka bought his children manga books, including “Nakamura Manga” for children, which was issued by Nakamura Shoten in Asakusa, Tokyo, “Norakuro” by Tagawa Suiho, and “Fuku-chan” by Yokoyama Ryuichi.
When he was an elementary school student, Tezuka Osamu literally grew up surrounded by manga.
Tezuka Osamu and Animation
Tezuka Osamu was also influenced by his father, Yutaka, in the field of animation.
Yutaka bought a 9.5-mm French-made movie projector called “Pathe Baby,” so that the family could enjoy watching movies at home. Films shown at home included “Mickey Mouse” from Walt Disney Company.
The Tezuka family also went to a theater in Osaka to see “Popeye” produced by Max Fleischer, “Silly Symphonies” from Walt Disney Company, etc.
Subsequently, Tezuka was impressed with the movie “Momotaro: A Divine Soldier of the Sea” when he saw it at a cinema that had survived the air raids. He then started to think that he wanted to produce animated cartoons.
Tezuka Osamu and Insects
Tezuka Osamu became interested in insects when he was in the fifth grade. One of his classmates showed him a copy of “A Color Picture Book on 1,000 Species of Insects,” which excited his interest in insects.
Together with friends, he started collecting insects and had become well acquainted with them by the time he graduated from elementary school.
During middle school, he invited his classmates to go and collect insects.
Together they often went to Gotenyama and other places for insect collecting, and also published a hand-written circular bulletin entitled “The World of Insects.”
Furthermore, he often visited the Insect Museum located in the Takarazuka new hot-spring resort to talk with experts. At one time, he dreamed of becoming an entomologist.
Tezuka Osamu and Reading
Tezuka Osamu was a book lover from when he was a small child. He read whatever books were given to him, including novels, as well as books on science and history.
He read at an amazing speed, and when he was an elementary school student, he once finished reading a novel he borrowed from his teacher during the short 20-minute trip by commuter train.
Even after growing up, he surprised those around him by reading through thick technical books in about one hour, while still understanding the content properly.
The miscellaneous knowledge he acquired by reading books and magazines one after another became an inexhaustible source of abundant creative ideas: he once described himself as “having so much knowledge that I can sell it at bargain price.”
Tezuka Osamu and Medicine
Tezuka Osamu was admitted to the medical department of Osaka University, which was established as a wartime temporary organization for meeting the shortage of army surgeons and doctors in occupied lands.
An experience he had had when he was a middle school student heavily influenced his decision to study medicine: the fragile Tezuka Osamu almost had to have both his arms amputated because of a heavy infection.
An excellent doctor saved his arms, and Tezuka Osamu in turn thought that he would like to become a doctor to save other people's lives.
There remain many episodes in which he is described as having drawn manga secretly at the back of the classroom in university, that he used nurses at the university hospital as his assistants, etc. In 1952, he obtained a qualification to practice medicine, and in 1961 acquired a doctor's degree in medicine with his thesis “A Microscopic Study of the Membrane Structure of Heterotypic Spermtids.”
The First Job
When Tezuka Osamu was a medical student, although he wavered as to whether he should become a doctor or Manga artist, he actively sold his manga to newspaper companies and other publishers.
One such effort was “Diary of Ma-chan,” a four-scene comic strip published in the Kansai edition of the Mainichi School Children's Newspaper in serial form starting January 4, 1946. “Diary of Ma-chan” was well received by the readers, and the initial one-month contract was revised to a three-month one, and even wooden Ma-chan dolls appeared on the market.
Subsequently, Tezuka Osamu contributed his other comic strips to Kyoto Nichi-nichi Newspaper and other publications. Moreover, he contributed four-scene comic strips to “Hello Manga,” the magazine run by Sakai Shichima, a veteran Manga artist in Kansai. These marked the debut of Tezuka Osamu as a Manga artist.
An encounter with Sakai Shichima led Tezuka Osamu to start drawing “New Treasure Island,” a joint work with Sakai to be published in book form. “New Treasure Island,”was a best-sellerat the time, selling over 400,000 copies,
The success of “New Treasure Island” brought about the “Akahon” boom in Osaka. Tezuka Osamu continued to publish his manga energetically, and in “The Mysterious Underground Man,” published in 1947, he single-handedly established a style of “story Manga” that transcended the conventional concept of the manga. This gained popularity among children throughout the country.
Note of Ideas
Since he was in his teens, it had been customary for Tezuka Osamu to jot down, in a notebook, ideas for magna and other matters that came into his mind. Some of these notes were directly used for his Manga and others contributed to new works at a later date.
In addition, influenced by dramas and movies, it was his custom to write scenarios before starting to draw magna.
According to the book “How to Draw Manga,” which he wrote in 1977, published by Kobunsha, his scriptwriting consisted of the following processes: (1) Decide on a theme, (2) work out a rough plan, (3) sketch a plot (a simple one depicting story line and outcome), (4) outline each scene (in the form of a novel), (5) draw up the scenario, (6) develop the major characters, and (7) study historical evidence.
He had a lot of fun going through these processes. Sometimes, he even prepared rough preliminary announcements that he had no particular intention of showing to others.
Permanent Exhibition: 2
The Manga Artist Tezuka Osamu
Here we fully cover Tezuka’s achievements and history. Tezuka started his career as a rental-book* author. Then he moved up to Tokyo with his long work titled “Jungle Emperor”. Soon after, he made a name for himself as the most popular manga artist with his best known work, “Astro Boy”.
In 1950, Tezuka Osamu joined the Tokyo Children's Manga Association (Jiman Nagaya),and he was the only Osaka-based member of the society.
In April, Tezuka Osamu's manga “Strange Travel of Dr. Tiger” was first published monthly magazine “Manga to Yomimono” in serial form. In November, the manga “Jungle Emperor Leo,” which later became one of his most important works, began to appear serially in the publisher Gakudosha's “Manga Shonen” magazine. Originally, “Jungle Emperor Leo” was newly written for the “Akahon.” When Tezuka visited the offices of Gakudosha, however, the manuscripts attracted the chief editor of the magazine, who happened to read them, and Tezuka Osamu hastily rewrote them to be published in the form of a long serial manga.
Furthermore, in April of the following year, “Captain Atom,” the predecessor of “Astro Boy,” began to appear in Kobunsha's magazine “Shonen.”
Tezuka Osamu's popularity thus spread from the local “Akahon” in Osaka to national magazines.
The Age of Monthly Magazines
During the mid-1950s, Manga publishing entered the age of monthly magazines. Monthly Manga magazines struggled for popular Manga artist and competed with one another for readers by adding voluminous supplements.
Hardly taking time out for sleep, Tezuka Osamu wrote many serial Manga and contributed his complete-in-one-issue manga as supplements.
Tezuka Osamu, influenced by Takarazuka Revue and student drama, developed the “star system” in which he treated his manga characters as if they were members of a theater company and made the characters of one of his Manga play different roles in others.
Depending on the story, Tezuka Osamu made a character wear a different kind of makeup and tailored its behavior, thus making it friendlier.
His characters were allotted to one of the studios that remind one of the Takarazuka Revue Company's troupe systems. Kenichi and Rock, who were among the leading characters in Tezuka Osamu's early works, were treated as freelancers that could appear in any manga.
The Star Directory he compiled in the early 1950s contained organized descriptions of his leading manga characters with clippings of their images from manga books attached. In addition, the Directory even contained a list of manga in which the characters appeared for the first time and in subsequent years, major roles they played, and performance fees paid to them.
Residents of Tokiwaso
In 1953, Tezuka Osamu moved to the Tokiwaso apartment in Shiinamachi, Tokyo.
Following Tezuka Osamu, Terada Hiroo moved into the apartment. Later, after Tezuka Osamu left, Abiko Motoo and Fujimoto Hiroshi (Fujiko Fujio) also moved into the same place, followed by Suzuki Shinichi, Ishinomori Shotaro, Akatsuka Fujio, Moriyasu Naoya, Mizuno Hideko, and Yokota Tokuo, etc.
Even Nagata Takemaru, Tsunoda Jiro, and Hase Kunio, who all lived in Tokyo, gathered there, suddenly making Tokiwaso a hotspot among young ambitious Manga artists.
In 1958, as a contract employee at Toei Animation, Tezuka Osamu wrote a draft scenario and storyline for and also directed the long animated film “Hsi Yu Chi (The Journey to the West)”.
In June 1961, Tezuka Osamu came at Tezuka Osamu's newly built house in Fujimidai, Nerima-ku, Tokyo to establish the animation division of Tezuka Productions.
Subsequently, veteran animated cartoon writers, joined them and in December of the same year, the division was reorganized and officially established as Mushi Production Inc.
In Japanese, Mushi means insects, bugs or worms. But “Mushi” in Mushi Production represents Osamu Tezuka himself since his name includes a Chinese character meaning Mushi. It also represents Mangaholic or Animeholic who are totally devoted to Manga or Anime.
Japan's First TV animated Cartoon“Astro Boy”
On January 1, 1963, Fuji Network Systems (FNS) began broadcasting “Astro Boy,” the first long serial TV animated cartoon produced in Japan. It was the first 30-minute long serial program.
In order to meet the schedule of one episode per week, the same limited animation method developed by Hanna Barbera Productions in the United States was introduced. The firm also implemented energy-saving techniques such as stop-motion cinematography and the “bank system” in which cell pictures were stored for repeated use.
For “Astro Boy,” a total of 193 episodes had been produced by December 1966, and the program gained popularity, marking a high audience rating of 40.3% at its peak and 25% on average.
Furthermore the American TV network NBC began to re-broadcast the show in September 1963.
“Jungle Emperor Leo,”Japan's First Color TV animated Cartoon
In October 1965, following the success of “Astro Boy,” Mushi Production began to broadcast the TV animated cartoon “Jungle Emperor Leo” through FNS.
It was the first domestically produced color animated cartoon for television.
Yamamoto Eiichi directed production, and Tomita Isao wrote the music for the animated cartoon. Yamamoto put the majority of the firm's annual production budgets into this work, and the image of the opening scene accompanied by Tomita's music was so successfully produced that it is said that it is difficult to create a similar image even today. A scene where a flock of flamingos take flight particularly amazing.
“Jungle Emperor Leo” won the Special Award of the TV Reporters Society Award. Later, its theater version received the San Marco Silver Lion Prize at the Venice International Film Festival.
During the period when “Astro Boy” was televised, Mushi Production issued the monthly magazine “Astro Boy Club” for “Astro Boy” fans. Although this monthly was distributed by mail alone, it was a full-fledged magazine that carried new episodes of “Astro Boy” written by Tezuka himself, cartoons by Nagashima Shinji and other cartoonists, and other articles.
With the termination of the broadcast of “Astro Boy,” the “Astro Boy” Club was dissolved and in January 1967, it was reborn as the new commercial magazine “COM”.
Tezuka Osamu intended to make “COM” a gateway to success for young Manga artist, as was the case with the former “Manga Shonen” magazine. Popular cartoonists contributed new and original works to “COM,” such as “The Phoenix” by Tezuka Osamu, “Jun” by Ishinomori Shotaro, and “Seishun Zankoku Monogatari” by Nagashima Shinji, which were appreciated even by adults.
Invited Manga artists, too, took up the challenge of creating ambitious works that they could not have contributed to other boys' magazines. In addition, the magazine established “Gracon (Grand Companion)” to find promising young Manga artists.
Many talented Manga artists, such as Aoyagi Yusuke, Adachi Mitsuru, Otomo Katsuhiro, Okada Fumiko, Takemiya Keiko, Noshino Junichi, Hasegawa Hosei, Miyatani Kazuhiko, and Morohoshi Daijiro got their starts with “Gracon.”
Furthermore, local chapters of “Gracon” were established throughout Japan, thereby laying the foundation for today's Manga boom.
“The Phoenix”:Tezuka Osamu's lifework
Tezuka Osamu began work on “The Phoenix” with “Chapter of Dawn,” which was published in the “Manga Shonen” magazine in serial form in 1954. The publication of “The Phoenix” was discontinued with the suspension of the publication of the magazine, and then, based on a new plan, publishing began in Kodansha's “Shojo Club” magazine in serial form. This was also discontinued and in 1967, with the foundation of the “COM” magazine, “The Phoenix” was published again starting with “Chapter of Dawn.”
The “COM” version of “The Phoenix” was designed with “The Phoenix” as a subsidiary character, and independent episodes, each with the common theme of “life and death: mystery of life,” were spun from two historical perspectives: ancient Japan and the end of humankind. It was also planned that “Astro Boy” would appear in 21st-century episodes and that the entire work would end with an episode set in modern times.
The episodes were interrelated, and the episode “Chapter of the Future,” which depicted the end of humankind, implied that the history of new human beings, who appeared again after the passage of a tremendous length of time, would lead to “Chapter of Dawn.” If “The Phoenix” had actually ended this way, what Tezuka Osamu conceived as the world of transmigration and rebirth would have been completed.
After the discontinuation caused by the suspension of the publication of “COM,” Tezuka Osamu continued to draw episodes of “The Phoenix” and contributed them to different magazines. He also worked out ideas for the episode “Chapter of Earth,” the setting of which was laid in China during the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945, until just before his death. “The Phoenix” was literally one of Tezuka Osamu's lifeworks.
Taking up the Challenge of Creating New Categories of Manga
In 1966, Tezuka Osamu started to publish “Vampire” in Shogakukan's “Shonen Sunday” magazine in serial form.
“Vampire” was completely different from these preceding Manga for boys. The greatest feature of “Vampire” was that the semi-leading character “Rock” was portrayed as a free and unrestrained villain. “Rock,” who ran the gamut of evildoing in efforts to break established notions of right winning out over wrong, was appealing to readers.
The success of “Vampire” led Tezuka Osamu to take up the challenge of creating altogether new kinds of Manga.
He took up the issue of sex in “The Song for Apollo,” and deep-seeded hatred in “Alabaster.”
In 1968, Tezuka established Tezuka Productions Co., Ltd. to produce Manga.
In April 1968, when “Dororo” started to be published following “Vampire,” he began to publish as many as 13 serial Manga in a wide range of new categories, including science fiction, mystery, adult Manga, and children's Manga.
Tezuka Osamu was of the opinion that animated cartoons should be enjoyed not only by children but also by adults.
He wanted to convey the power of free expression and the beauty of animated cartoons to the adult audience as well. Nippon Herald Films, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of its foundation, requested Tezuka Osamu to produce an animated cartoon for adults that could be exported overseas. In response to this offer, Tezuka Osamu started to produce the theater adult animated film “A Thousand and One Nights,” whose subject was taken from “Arabian Nights.”
“A Thousand and One Nights” was Tezuka Osamu's first animated film designed for release at movie theaters.
This work was named “animerama,” an abbreviation of “animated cartoon drama,” and in this new category, Tezuka Osamu explored all the possibilities of animation technology and cinematography available at that time, including the synthesis of animated cartoons and films of actual drama.
It took about one year and five months to complete this work. A total of 60,000 staff members were mobilized for production, and the number of cell pictures painted reached 70,000. Celebrities from various circles repeated the dialogue in the animated cartoon, attracting public attention.
The animated cartoon was released in 1969 and brought in an income of \320 million as compared to the production cost of \130 million, making it a profitable hit film.
The New Tezuka Osamu's Boom
In 1973, Mushi Pro Shoji and Mushi Production went bankrupt. Although Tezuka Osamu had retired as president of the two companies and had withdrawn himself from management, he eventually shouldered the debts of the companies.
Saddled with the debts and his dream of producing animated cartoons shattered, Tezuka Osamu devoted himself to the production of Manga again.
In 1972, he started to publish “Buddha” in Ushio Shuppansha's magazine “Kibo no Tomo” in serial form. In this work, he used the form of Buddha's biography to elaborate the theme of “The Phoenix,” the publication of which had been suspended due to the discontinuation of the publication of the “COM” magazine.
In 1973, he published “Black Jack” in “Shonen Champion” magazine in serial form to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his career as a Manga artist. Furthermore, he published the unique serial Manga “The Three-eyed One” in “Shonen Magazine” in 1974 and the fairy tale-like serial manga “Unico” in Sanrio's magazine “Lyrica” in 1976.
Each of these became a hit, giving rise to a new Tezuka Osamu boom.
Animated Cartoons Produced by Tezuka Productions
It was in 1978, that Tezuka Productions started to produce animated cartoons full-scale.
The foremost reason Tezuka Osamu resumed the production of animated cartoons was that the success of “Black Jack” and “The Three-eyed One” had made him financially well-off.
Other reasons included the shock of the sudden death of Yoshida Tatsuo, who had led Tatsunoko Productions, and Tezuka Osamu's reaction to being considered a Manga artist of the past in the midst of the animated cartoon boom triggered by “Star Blazers Yamato.”
Tezuka Osamu decided to produce a pilot animated cartoon entitled “The Legend of the Forest” and brought together animators from the former Mushi Production for this purpose.
In 1978, it was also decided that animated cartoons would be produced and synthesized as part of the film “The Phoenix” directed by Ichikawa Kon.
In addition, in August of the same year, Nippon Television Network broadcast the two-hour animated cartoon “One million-year Trip: Bander Book,” which demonstrated that Tezuka was still active. He then began to energetically publish a series of works.
A Global Perspective
In 1963, Tezuka Osamu visited the United States to conclude a contract with the American TV network NBC, following which he traveled overseas many times.
In 1980, he gave a lecture on the Manga culture of modern Japan at the headquarters of the United Nations as a “Manga ambassador” for the Japan Foundation.
Tezuka Osamu believed that Manga and animated cartoons would become a means of international communication, and strove to convey his message to the rest of the world.
The inside of the museum
Here we introduce exhibition facilities and original illustrations for the wall paintings in the museum.
*Please note the illustrations introduced here are the original, not the image of the wall paintings in the museum.
The images inside the museum are also available on Google Street View.
制作 — 手塚プロダクション
Produced by — Tezuka Productions Co., LTD.