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Osamu Tezuka (Tezuka Osamu in tranditional Japanese format, last name first) created a revolution in comics and animation. Born is 1928 in Toyonoka, in Osaka, Japan, he was raised in the nearby city of Takarazuka. From a very early age he loved to draw (and loved to collect insects so much that he later incorporated the ideogram for "insects" into his first name as a penname). When he was eighteen, enrolled in college as a medical student, he made his debut as a cartoonist with a four panel newspaper comic strip titled "Ma-chan's Diary." Not too long thereafter, paperback compilations of his longer stories, with titles such as "New Treasure Island", "Lost World" and "Next World", became smash hits, selling what was then unthinkable for comics-over 400,000 copies each-and making him nationally famous.

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.Although Tezuka Osamu eventually received his physician's license, he chose to devote his life to comics and animation rather than practice medicine. In doing so he brought an unusually creative and educated mind to both fields; In comics, in particular, he pioneered long narratives of hundreds, even thousand of pages, bringing "cinematic" art styles and novelistic plots to the medium. By 1950 he had firmly established his position as the leading comics artist of his day when he serialized his now-classic work, Jungle Emperor Leo(also known as Kimba the White Lion), in the monthly magazine, Manga Shonen. Then, in 1952, he began serializing Mighty Atom in the young boys' monthly Shonen. Mighty Atom, which later became "ASTRO BOY" as known as to Americans, becoming one of Tezuka's most popular and famous works Tezuka did not stop with Atom, however. He began turning out one hit after another, with Princess Knight in 1953, Ambassador Magma and W3("Amazing 3") in 1965, Vampire in 1966, and Dororo in 1967. In 1967 he also began drawing what he called his "Life work--the Phoenix--" and creating comics targeted at a more adult audience.

Remarkably, Tezuka continued creating comics with powerful, original themes throughout his long career. Some of his best known later works include Ode to Kirihito, 1970; A History of Birdmen, 1971; A hundred Tales, 1971; Ayako, 1972; Black Jack and Buddha, 1973; MW, 1976; A tree in the Sun, 1981; Tell to Adolph, 1983; Ludwig B., 1987; and Neo Faust, 1988. Tezuka continued creating and drawing comics until he died on February 9, 1989.
On February 10, 1989, the day after Tezuka passed away, Japan's Asahi Newspaper explained the contribution of this great artist as follows: "Foreign visitors to Japan often find it difficult to understand why Japanese people like comics so much. For example they often reportedly find it odd to see grown men and women engrossed in weekly comic magazine on the trains during commute hours. One explanation for the popularity of comics in Japan, however, is that Japan had Tezuka Osamu, whereas other nations did not. Without Dr. Tezuka, the postwar explosion in comics in Japan would have been inconceivable.


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-from Tezuka Osamu World

 

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