The first issue of "The World of Animals" published in 1942
"A Color Picture Book on Insects" published in 1943
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." He was part of the natural history club as well as the art club, and issued a research magazine entitled "The World of Animals." 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.
"Norakura Gocho" (1937) The manga with "Omusubi Kozo" (Rice ball boys) with Tezuka Osamu's mother Fumiko drawn The picture inside the circle is enlarged.
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 Kitazato 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. And in middle school, he practiced drawing buildings, automobiles, and other objects following the model of American cartoonist George McManus's works, which were published in the "Asahi Graph" magazine his father had bought before the war.
"Hsi Yu Chi (The Journey to the West)," released in Japan in 1942
"A Spider and a Tulip," 1943
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.
Books from Tezuka's bookshelves
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."
Commemorative photograph for "Crime and Punishment" in 1947 (Tezuka is at the far left).
In 1945, Tezuka Osamu joined the medical department of Osaka University, where he encountered student drama. The cultural festival of the medical department held in May 1946 led to the formation of the theater company "Gakuyuza" by students from the medical department and Osaka Prefecture Women's University, and Tezuka Osamu, too, became a member. He appeared in Gakuyuza's first performance, "The Crown of Life," playing the role of an old man. When Gakuyuza gave its second performance, "Men in White," he not only appeared in the performance but also displayed in the lobby of the theater a manga that depicted the plot of the play. After a final performance in "Crime and Punishment" in 1947, Tezuka Osamu decided not to be involved in student drama anymore. His experiences in student drama, however, were useful when he developed "story Manga" and established the "star system" in which he had the characters from some of his Manga play different roles in others.