God of Comics
Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post-World War II Manga
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: University Press of Mississippi
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List of Illustrations
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Notes on Japanese Names, Titles, and Reading Order
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The research for God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post–World War II Manga was conducted at the following archives, libraries, and institutions: National Diet Library (Tokyo), Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum, Ikeda Bunko, Contemporary Manga Museum, Kyoto National Museum, Northwestern University Medical School Library, and the Cartoon Research Library at Ohio State University. The work was partially funded through the Swann...
Chapter 1. Introduction and Some Definitions
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A certain generation of North Americans may remember the TV animation series Astro Boy. The series’ superhero, Astro Boy, was an adorable and somewhat androgynous robot boy, with red boots and a shiny black head that had two spikes that never overlapped no matter from what angle you were looking at him. He had an IQ of three hundred and strength equal to one hundred thousand...
Chapter 2. Tezuka in History/History in Tezuka
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While Tezuka’s responsibility in the boom of story comics in post–World War II Japan is undeniable, it would be a mistake to say that comic books, or comic book culture, did not exist in Japan prior to Tezuka. Comics and visual storytelling have always been important elements of Japanese visual culture, and Tezuka often made references to older forms of comics in his work. Many...
Chapter 3. Movie in a Book
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Tezuka Osamu’s professional career started in 1946 with a comic strip, Mā-chan no nikkichō (The Diary of Mā-chan). This classic four- panel comic strip was serialized in a local children’s newspaper, Mainichi Shōgakusei Shinbun, depicting humorous incidents in the daily life of a young boy named Mā-chan. The Allied Occupation Forces controlled not only the contents of all print...
Chapter 4. Stars and Jokes
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There is a unique sense, which a reader starts to experience as he or she gets to know more than a few of Tezuka’s works, that all Tezuka’s works, regardless of genre, topic, or style, are somehow connected. While each work is independent and coherent, there emerges another layer of meaning—a kind of meta-narrative—when one reads it in context of other works. This sense of...
Chapter 5. Communities and Competitions
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It is well known that Fujiko Fujio, one of the most accomplished cartoonists of twentieth-century Japan, was “discovered” by Tezuka Osamu. Fujiko Fujio is a pseudonym shared between two artists, Abiko Motoo and Fujimono Hiroshi, who met in fifth grade and became best friends. They worked under one pseudonym until 1988. Their styles were so similar that most people could not...
Chapter 6. Sapphire and Other Heroines
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In figure 6.1 we see a scene between Princess Sapphire—cross-dressed as “Prince” Sapphire—and a pirate captain, Brad, in Tezuka Osamu’s 1958 girls’ comics, Ribon no kishi (Princess Knight). The events leading up to the scene are as follows: Brad and his men save Prince Sapphire from drowning in the sea. After hearing about Sapphire’s circumstances, Brad offers to assassinate Duralmin...
Chapter 7. Tormenting Affairs with Animation
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Tezuka Osamu often remarked: “Comics is my wife, and animation is my lover.” Tezuka’s relationship with animation was long and complex, characterized by a constant mix of love and hate, enchantment and disappointment, devotion and betrayal. This passionate, albeit tormenting love affair started at a young age, seeing animations on his father’s film projector, or at the movie...
Chapter 8. Low Humor/High Drama, the Two Faces of Adult Comics
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The morning after Tezuka’s death, Asahi Shinbun printed a column titled “Tet-suwan Atom no message (The Message of Astro Boy),” which read as follows: “Why do the Japanese love comics so much? The sight of passengers on commuter trains all reading weekly comic magazines strikes most foreigners as strange. [. . .] Why haven’t people of other countries been reading comics...
Chapter 9. God of Comics, Master of Quotations
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Throughout this book, I have discussed how various art forms, cultural products, and social and cultural discourses that surround them have entered Tezuka’s works, functioning as powerful intertexts that bring with them a set of meanings and histories. The scene from Third Man inserts emotional gravity into Monster on the 38th Parallel, and the long history of comics in Japan...
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The train sped through the countryside and my bag was heavy on my lap. As we were pulling away from Nagoya station, a middle-aged man asked me if I needed help putting it up on the shelf. I said I would rather hold onto it, it was important. The bag was full of comic manuscripts that my brother and I had slaved over for the last year or so. There was also a plastic container full of sugar ...
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Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2009