The millionaire’s hidden life
It has been a while because the special issue was run after the last issue.
I was walking in the area around Minami-Nagasaki in Toshima-ku. In the spring of 1953, Tezuka Osamu moved to a new-built apartment, Tokiwa-so, in Toshima-ku from his tentative residence in Yotsuya. The address of the apartment then was Shinamachi, Toshima, which became Minami-Nagasaki in 1964 according to the revision of residence indication.
The flag of Tokiwa-so was raised on the shopping-street. This street was called “Kiyotomichi” in Edo era and flourished as an industrially important road to connect Edo and agricultural areas.
When he moved in Tokiwa-so, “Jungle Emperor”, “Astro boy” and “The Adventure of Rock” were already in serialization.Furthermore, “Princess Knight” was begun in January, 1953 after then.
Mr. Tezuka, getting busier increasingly, was ranked at the top in the artist’s category on the list of large income earners for 1953.A reporter of a magazine who heard the news visited Tokiwa-so and wrote the article as follows: In a six tatami mat room only furnished with a desk and bookshelves in a cheap apartment building, this popular artist was drawing Manga late at night, wearing a blue simple jacket and tortoise shell framed eye glasses.He is just a lean-faced young man. (Shukan Asahi, Apirl 11, 1954 issue)
The Shukan Asahi’s article on Mr. Tezuka during Tokiwa-so days
Mr. Tezuka who hated losing got angry at being written like that.Therefore, he bought a lot of luxurious furniture and an expensive piano to furnish his room.Mr. Tezuka depicted how it was comically in his autography.
The first published edition of Tezuka Osamu’s autography titled “Boku wa Manga-ka”. Later, the work was contained under a new title “Tezuka Osamu Jiden” in vol. 383 “Tezuka Osamu Essays 1” of Tezuka Osamu Complete Works from Kodansha.
In “Gachapoi Ichidaiki”, Tezuka depicted himself angry at the article.
This work is containedin vol. 274 of Tezuka Osamu Complete Works from Kodansha.
By the way, how was the shopping street then?What all the residents said was the street was quite busy and crowded with many people.
Mr. Rokuro Masuda (73) who ran a vegetable store within Yamamasa Market said “The shopping street was so crowded with many shoppers in the evening that it was hard just to walk past.”He also said, “While I was busy with one customer here, another customer who could not wait left with a product without paying there.”This impatience must attribute to the spirit of Tokyoite.
I asked Ms. Emi Yokoyama at Toshima Kyodo Shiryokan about the time background. According to her, population of the area had increased gradually from 1940’s to 1960’s.That was the time Mr. Tezuka moved to and lived in the area.After the post-war period, a lot of young people came to Tokyo with hope.Such young people preferred the area since it was conveniently located plus house rents were reasonable.Therefore, a lot of apartment buildings such as Tokiwa-so were newly constructed then. Now the area around originally Tokiwa-so was located is quiet and peaceful, but the area must have been bustling with excitement then.
Mr. Tezuka in the reproduced Room 14 of Tokiwa-so
This photo was taken at the exhibition: “Heroes in Tokiwa-so” held at Toshima Kyodo Shiryokan in 1986. (The photo was provided by Toshima Kyodo Shiryokan)
I was hungry because I begun walking around noon.I decided to have lunch at “Matsuba”, a Chinese restaurant, with Mr. Mikio Koide who was a guided for me today.
This restaurant where residents of Tokiwa-so used to visit appeared in “Manga-do”, an autobiography-like work by Mr. Fujiko-Fujio A several times. In the restaurant, various Manga Artist’s autographs as well as photos taken then were put on the wall.The place was just like a museum.
(Left) Chinese restaurant Matsuba. The restaurant was reconstructed in 1963.
(Right) A picture taken when Matsuba was established around 1950.
Business Hours: 11:00 -20:30 (11:00 -15:00 on Fridays), Open everyday.
I and Mr. Koide ordered Tsukemen (580 yen).The soup stock, covered with a lot of vegetables and char siu has a taste of rich soy sauce.It was very delicious.Actually, I ate Soy sauce ramen at the restaurant on the day the unveiling ceremony of Tokiwa-so Monument was held.It was Tokyo style ramen, which was a nostalgic taste for me since I was raised in Tokyo.
Matsuba’s Ramen has a taste that reminds me old days.
Mr. Koide’s recommendation is Makisoba. I will have it next time.
After becoming full, I left Matsuba, walking on the street to the east.The statue located in front of the narrow street a block from Ochiai Telephone Station was “Kosodate Jizoson (or Mejiro-dori Futamata Kosodate Jizo)” Mr. Tezuka had this Juzo appear in “Tokiwa-so Monogatari”.
This Jizo was located at the junction of three roads before the war (the place now Futamata Police Station is located). On the day of hopping, a lot of people from neighboring areas gathered around the Jizo. Later the Jizo was moved to the present place due to the expansion of Mejiro Street in 1938.
It feels like time passes slowly around the Jizo
After paying my respect at the Jizo, I looked to the left casually. There was a row of houses behind the parking lot, where Tokiwa-so used to be located.Somehow, the area was comfortable.You may feel like taking a break there to drink canned coffee. If you do so, don’t forget bringing back a can with you. (laugh)
My walk reached a final phase.I had to speed up since there were some more places to introduce.
Leaving Futamata Police Station, I walked to Yamate Street.There was a vacant site on the left, where a movie theater named “Mejiro Eiga” was located.
Nowadays, it’s common that people go to Cine Complex in downtown or in shopping malls when they watch movies.But there were one or two theaters in every town people can stop by on your way home in the past.Not only young manga artists who got energy and ideas from movies but also Mr. Tezuka must have watched movies at “Mejiro Eiga”between his busy schedules.
Mejiro Eiga” changed its name to “Mejiro Toho” in 1961.
The above is a flyer of the theater printed around new year days in 1965. (Provided by Yuichi Yoshino)
Across from the theater, there had been a used bookstore named “Seizan-do”, where Mr. Shotaro Ishinomori used to buy sci-fi novels.The store used to be located at the place now a Japanese noodle shop is, but today nothing associated with the bookstore remained there.
And there had been a coffee shop “Eden” on the corner of Yamate Street.Since Mr. Ishinomori loved the shop, he had it appeare in his works.
The view of Yamate Street seen from Mejiro Street
On the left corner you can see a sign of Eden, a coffee shop where Mr. Ishinomori used to visit.
(Photo provided by Yuichi Yoshino)
The way from Toshima to Nerima is Manga Artists’ Street
Finally Mr. Koide took me to the place where Mr. Masao Tanaka’s office was located.Mr. Tanaka lived in the area at almost the same time Mr. Tezuka did.
Mr. Tanaka was an artist who dominated the world of sports manga including “Daruma-kun” and “Liner-kun” and created a lot of educational manga for children later in his life. According to Mr. Koide, Mr. Tanka lives in the suburb of Toyo now and is doing well.
(Left) The place Mr. Tanaka’s office was located.Now an apartment building is built there.
(Right) The building Mr. Tanaka lived in.According to Mr. Hikomaro Ono (81), his landlord, Mr. Tanaka was renting the 2nd floor of the building which used to be a Japanese inn.(Photo provided by Hikomaro Ono)
Actually not only Mr. Tezuka and Mr. Tanaka, but also a lot more famous manga artists including Keizo Shimada, Yoshiteru Takano, Masao Haga and Hifumi Yamane lived in and around the area.
Today the area around Oizumi and Shakujii in Nerima is famous for the residence of manga artists, but Toshima was also famous as one of such areas then. Toshima was the largest production center of manga artists.
According to a book written by a well-known editor of Kodansha, Akira Maruyama, a son of Mr. Kenichi Sato, President of Gakudo-sha found a room in Tokiwa-so for Mr. Tezuka.As you know, Gakudo-sha was famous as a publishing company of” Manga Shonen”, a legendary comic magazine having turned out a lot of popular manga artists. That’s why the son of Mr. Sato chose Tokiwa-so.
But on editor’s behalf, it must have been convenient for them to receive manuscripts if many manga artists had lived in one small area. (laugh)Somehow, Mr. Tezuka became to live in Tokiwa-so from which his legend started. Maybe a legend is something triggered by just a simple matter.
That’s all today.I look forward to seeing you again in next Mushi Walk.
I would like to show my sincere appreciation to Mr. Koide and all the local people who told me interesting story.
Local people I met during the walk:
Mr. Rokuro Masuda, Mr. Washida Kazuhiko, Mr. Kyoshi Ono (from upper left),
Mr. Yuji Sanuki, Ms. Reika Yamamoto, Mr. Yuichi Yoshino, Mr. Hikomaro Ono, and Mr. Mikio Koide (from lower left)
* To enlarge, click on the map.
(Time: 3 hours and 26 minutes walk, Pedometer steps: 5574)
Cooperated by Minami-Nagasaki Nikoniko Shotengai, Mejiro-dori Futamata Shotenkai, Toshima-ku, Toshima Kyodo Shiryokan and Oya Soichi Bunko
Born in 1957 in Tokyo. Freelance writer and manga story writer. The first Tezuka manga he encountered was Astro Boy and since then, for over 40 years, he has collected manga works of the Showa period and toys sold at mom-and-pop candy stores. He has written many Showa-retro related books and articles. Tezuka Osamu Fan Club membership number 364 (inaugural class).