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Osamu Tezuka Overview

born: 1928
born in: Osaka
died: 1989
Dr. Osamu Tezuka (手塚 治虫, Tezuka Osamu?, was a Japanese manga artist, animator, producer and medical doctor, although he never practiced medicine. Born in Osaka Prefecture, he is best known as the creator of Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion.... [more]

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Osamu Tezuka Works

Works The distinctive "large eyes" style of Japanese animation was invented by Tezuka,[2] who based it on cartoons of the time such as Max Fleischer's Betty Boop and Walt Disney's Bambi and Mickey Mouse. As an indication of his productivity, the Complete Manga Works of Tezuka Osamu (手塚治虫漫画全集, published in Japan) comprises some 400 volumes, over 80,000 pages; even so, it is not comprehensive. In fact, his complete oeuvre includes over 700 manga with more than 150,000 pages.[5][6] However, the vast majority of his work has never been translated from the original Japanese and is thus inaccessible to people who do not read Japanese. When he was younger, Tezuka's arms swelled up and he became ill. He was treated and cured by a doctor which spurred him on to study medicine at Osaka University. 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. This was an especially serious question since, 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.[6][3] His creations include Astro Boy (Tetsuwan Atomu in Japan), Black Jack, Princess Knight (the first shōjo, or girl-oriented, manga/anime series), Phoenix (Hi no Tori in Japan), Kimba the White Lion (an uncredited inspiration for Disney's The Lion King) and Adolf. His "life's work" was Phoenix — a story of life and death, concerning an eponymous phoenix whose blood endows those who drink it with immortality. Osamu Tezuka told that he created the image of Phoenix as he was impressed by Firebird from the Konyok Gorbunok animation film (Soyuzmultfilm studio), directed by Ivan Ivanov-Vano. In January 1965, Tezuka received a letter from 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. Tezuka couldn't afford to leave his studio for an entire year to live in England, so he refused the invitation. Tezuka couldn't work on it, but he loved the movie, and would play its soundtrack at maximum volume in his studio to keep him awake during the long nights of work.[7][8] Tezuka headed the animation production studio Mushi Production ('Bug Production'), which pioneered TV animation in Japan.[4] The name of the studio derives from one of the kanji (虫) used to write his name. Many young manga artists once lived in the apartment where Tezuka lived, Tokiwa-so. (As the suffix -so indicates, this was probably a small, inexpensive apartment.) The residents included Shotaro Ishinomori; Fujio Akatsuka; and Abiko Motou and Hiroshi Fujimoto (who worked together under the pen name Fujiko Fujio).[9][10] He was a personal friend (and apparent artistic influence) of Brazilian comic book artist Mauricio de Sousa. Tezuka died of stomach cancer at the age of 60, the same month when the Showa Emperor (Hirohito) also died of cancer. In an afterword written by Takayuki Matsutani, president of Mushi Productions, that was published in Viz Media's English language release of the Hi no Tori manga, it is said that his last words were "I'm begging you, let me work!". In 1994, the city of Takarazuka, Hyōgo, where Tezuka grew up, opened a museum in his memory. Stamps were issued in his honor in 1997. Around the beginning of the 21st century, his son Makoto Tezuka created Tezuka Productions to help extend Tezuka's manga series with new issues beyond his death, and also posthumous works. Also, beginning in 2003 the Japanese toy company Kaiyodo began manufacturing a series of highly detailed 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. A separate Astro Boy series of figurines has also been issued, and enjoying continuing popularity for fans throughout Japan are annual Tezuka calendars with some of Tezuka's most famous artwork.
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