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The Most Famous Manga Artist Of All Time

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This article discusses about the person who is considered the most famous manga artist of all time. The person who is referred to as the “God of Manga” for his pioneering techniques and innovative redefinitions of genres.


Key Takeaways

  • Osamu Tezuka is often called the “Father of Manga” and the “God of Manga” due to his pioneering techniques, innovative redefinitions of genres, and prolific output.
  • Tezuka’s most famous works, including Astro Boy, Princess Knight, and Kimba the White Lion, won several awards and were seen as highly successful.
  • Osamu’s influence on the anime industry cannot be overstated, as he introduced labor-saving measures in anime, and his works continue to be popular and influential today.
  • His legacy continues to be celebrated and recognized in various ways, from stamps and figurines in his honor to new projects that use AI to illustrate manga in his style.
  • Osamu Tezuka even has a price called after him: “Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize”.

A Short Brief About Osamu Tezuka

Osamu Tezuka was a renowned Japanese manga artist, cartoonist, and animator born in Osaka Prefecture in 1928.

He is often referred to as the “Father of Manga,” “Godfather of Manga,” and “God of Manga” due to his pioneering techniques, prolific output, and innovative redefinitions of genres.

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Osamu Tezuka (image credits).

Tezuka’s work began the manga revolution in Japan, and his manga series, including Astro Boy, Princess Knight, and Kimba the White Lion, and adult-oriented series, such as Black Jack, Phoenix, and Buddha, won several awards and were highly successful.

His work was heavily inspired by Walt Disney, and he is considered to be the Japanese equivalent of Disney. Despite being famous for his early manga works for children and animations, Tezuka’s later works in gekiga are equally significant.

He died of stomach cancer in 1989, which had an immediate impact on the Japanese public and other cartoonists.

A museum dedicated to his life and works was built in Takarazuka, and Tezuka received several posthumous awards. Some animations were in production at the time of his death, and the final chapters of Phoenix were never released.

The Early Life of the Legendary Manga Artist

Osamu Tezuka (eldest of three children) was born in Toyonaka, Osaka, in a prosperous and well-educated family. His father worked in management at Sumitomo Metals, and his mother frequently took him to the Takarazuka Grand Theater, which had a profound influence on his later works.

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Osamu Tezuka.

Tezuka was a Disney movie buff since his father showed him Walt Disney films when he was young. He started drawing comics around his second year of elementary school and was inspired by Suihō Tagawa and Unno Juza.

Tezuka adopted a pen name, “Osamushi,” after finding a ground beetle (Osamushi) that resembled his own name Osamu.

During high school in 1944, Tezuka was drafted to work for a factory to support the Japanese war effort while continuing to write manga. In 1945, Tezuka began studying medicine at Osaka University while publishing his first professional works.

Osamu’s Career in Manga

Osamu Tezuka used his art to encourage people to care for the world. After publishing his first professional work at the age of 17, Tezuka’s golden age of manga began with the success of Shin Takarajima (New Treasure Island), a story based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

He then published his first major success, Kimba the White Lion, and graduated from medical school.

Tezuka’s most famous work, Astro Boy, was serialized in 1952, and his character Atom gained massive popularity in Japan. As a result, he published the shōjo manga Ribon no Kishi (Princess Knight) and Phoenix, which he considered his life’s work, in 1953 and 1954, respectively.

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Astro Boy by Osamu Tezuka.
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Astro Boy by Osamu Tezuka.

Osamu’s Career in Anime

Tezuka’s first animated work, Saiyuki, was produced by Toei Animation (one of the best animation studios in the world) in 1959, with Tezuka credited as the director.

However, he was a difficult person to motivate, and the majority of the direction was done by Yabushita Taiji. Despite everything, the film introduced the use of a simplified art style and limited animation, which would become labor and cost savers in the industry.

In 1961, Tezuka founded Mushi Productions and created the anti-Disney film Tales from a Certain Street Corner, introducing labor-saving measures in anime, such as repeated and reversed animation cycles.

Tezuka’s most successful series, Astro Boy, debuted in 1963 and was the first Japanese animation dubbed into English for an American audience. Tezuka’s style and techniques would greatly influence the anime industry, and his works continue to be popular today.

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Astro Boy anime by Osamu Tezuka.

The Legacy Of Osamu Tezuka

Tezuka’s creations have been honored through various means, such as issuing stamps in his honor and manufacturing figurines by a Japanese toy company.

Tezuka also guided many other manga artists and influenced several well-known artists, including Monkey Punch and Akira Toriyama.

Additionally, Tezuka’s characters have been used by overseas artists, such as Brazilian comic book artist Mauricio de Sousa.

In recent years, there have been new projects to continue Tezuka’s legacy, such as the Tezuka 2020 project, which uses AI (artificial intelligence) to illustrate manga in his style, resulting in the creation of a new protagonist and a new manga titled Paidon (or Phaedo in English).

Conclusion

Osamu Tezuka was a highly influential and revered manga artist and animator whose legacy continues to be celebrated and recognized in various ways.

He not only created many iconic characters and stories but also guided and inspired many other manga artists and animators.

Tezuka’s work and influence have transcended time and borders, with his characters and style being appreciated and adapted by artists worldwide.

The continued recognition and commemoration of Tezuka’s contributions to the world of manga and animation are a testament to his enduring impact on popular culture.

“Progress in science must not leave nature and humanity behind.”

Osamu Tezuka

Feature image credits.

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Okuha

Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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