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Essay on Idleness of Animals


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  • "Essay on Idleness of Animals" is a very short story that combines narrative with a sarcastic touch delivered through animals. Beginning with the monkey in the first episode, a different animal is featured in each story. Tezuka Osamu used various writing and drawing techniques to depict the unique characteristics of each animal. At the time, this work was noteworthy for its experimental cartoon form. Of particular interest are the second episode "Raccoon Dog" and the eleventh episode "Horse" because Tezuka Osamu used his hometown Takarazuka as a backdrop for the narrative of the Manga in these two episodes.

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  • Songoku (1st episode)

    Bear (3rd episode)

    Higuchi Samonnosuke Tomonaga (3rd episode)

    Rabbit (4th episode)

    Fox (5th episode)

    Dog (8th episode)

    Young man (8th episode)

    Cat (9th episode)

    Carriage horse (11th episode)


  • From October 1973 to September 1974
    Appeared serially in "Anima" (Heibonsha Ltd, Publishers)

    "Essay on Idleness of Animals" was serialized in the photographic journal "Anima," a magazine specializing in real life photos of animals. Two pages of Manga appeared in each issue over a period of one year. Tezuka Osamu's animals included reptiles and amphibians such as snakes and frogs as well as mammals.
    This work, along with "Buddha," won the 21st Bungeishunju Manga Award in 1975. In "The Complete Works of Tezuka Osamu," only the second episode "Tanuki" and the eleventh episode "Horse" are included in his collection of autobiographical short stories "Paper Fortress."


  • 1. Monkey      October 1973

    A work with illustrations and text, this piece depicts the monkey, which has been characterized as a parody of human beings since olden times because of its human-like appearance.

    2. Raccoon Dog      November 1973

    A memory of a raccoon dog and an old woman who met each other during wartime is narrated in the first person. Was it a reality or a dream? This is a picturesque work with a fantasy story line.

    3. Bear      December 1973

    At the end of the year 1615, Higuchi Samonnosuke Tomonaga, a vassal of the feudal domain of Matsumae, has an accident in the mountain and spends all winter in a bear burrow with a bear until he is finally rescued in the spring. But when he goes back to his domain, he is met with not compassion but sarcasm and ridicule. This is a fable of a tragic man whose life is saved by the unaccountable generosity of an animal, but whose social life as a human is denied in the end.

    4. Rabbit      January 1974

    In "Rabbit and Turtle," one of the fables written by Aesop, the rabbit, a fast runner, takes a nap during the race and is defeated by the turtle. But why does the rabbit take a nap? This episode presents thirteen ironic hypotheses answering the question, with each hypothesis depicting a parody of human society.

    5. Fox      February 1974

    This is a monologue by a fox that observes the behavior of people trying to catch him by enticing him with food. Although the fox narrates in an unconcerned tone, the ending is quite scary.

    6. Rat      March 1974

    On the surface this very short work with illustrations and text depicts a scenario with fast-multiplying rats, but it actually satirizes human society in which overpopulation leads to riots and eventually into war.

    7. Frog      April 1974

    In the style of an illustrated reference, twelve kinds of frogs, including Akire-kaeru (Staggered Frog), Nosutoradaruma-kaeru (Nostradamus Frog) and Shinyanaki-kaeru (Midnight Crying Frog) are shown, each parodying a different aspect of human society.

    8. Dog      June 1974

    A timid young man succeeds in exterminating demons with the support of a dog, but then... This picturesque work parodies the legend of Momotaro, a famous Japanese old tale, putting it in a paradoxical setting.

    9. Cat      May 1974

    Similarities between woman and the cat, an animal that is often compared to women, are shown in 18 points along with illustrations and comments.

    10. Snake      July 1974

    This is an essay with illustrations on snakes, animals that have been hated instinctively by humans since ancient times, done in a cynical style.

    11. Horse      August 1974

    In this picturesque essay, Tezuka Osamu narrates his own memories about carriage horses that can be seen only in tourist resorts nowadays. This is a fine piece of work that leaves an unforgettable impression on the reader through a monologue by Tezuka, in which he tells of his memories of the horses that worked silently in those old days.

    12. Cow      September 1974

    Under what circumstances were the famous paintings of the bison in the cave at Altamira, Spain, produced? This very short Manga without any words presents a comical assumption of how the paintings came into existence.



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