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Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum

TOMM the 5th Exhibition: Exhibition of War Records through Manga and Picture Diaries


“Over 40 years after the war, the number of persons who can convey its horror to future generations is decreasing. I worry that another war might occur unless those who really know the wartime conditions through their own experiences continue to tell children and youths about the true nature of war.” Excerpts from “Save our mother earth,” an essay written by Tezuka Osamu (Kobunsha 1986).


A war broke out between Japan and China when Tezuka Osamu was young, soon developing into a world war that involved most of the Pacific nations. The war experiences he had during this period provided important themes for his subsequent creative activities. He repeatedly dealt with the subject of war in his short works, including “Under the Air,” “Canon,” and “Zephyrus,” and conveyed the misery of war and the ugliness of egoistic nationalism to future generations throughout his career. In his later years, he drew the long cartoon “The Stories of Three Adolfs,” the culmination of such efforts.


Meanwhile, how did the children of those days view the war? At the end of the war, when Japan’s defeat was imminent, the Japanese government adopted the policies of “student mobilization” and ” evacuation of schoolchildren.” Under these policies, all people, including even students, who could be used as labor power, were mobilized to produce military supplies, and children were separated from their parents for evacuation and forced to live together in the countryside.


Records of such evacuation-war records from the viewpoint of children-that covered the 600-day period from departure to dispersion have been stored in the form of picture diaries. Graduates of the state-run national school affiliated with Ochanomizu Women’s University have maintained some 3,000 pages of the picture diaries.


Based on its founding concept “Love for nature and the value of life,” the Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum endeavors to cast light on the society and culture as well as the lives of people during wartime and convey to the next generation the fact that life, peace, and freedom, which are taken for granted today, are crucial to the lives of people the world over, by displaying both Tezuka Osamu Manga works and children’s picture diaries. This is why the Museum is presenting the “Exhibition of War Records through Manga and Picture Diaries” in the year that marks the 50th anniversary of the end of the war.






1. War as seen from Tezuka Osamu’s viewpoint


Tezuka Osamu’s manuscripts on display




Published in the May 23, 1971 issue of “Weekly Shonen Sunday” magazine.



“New Ryosaishii The Spider”

Published in the January 17, 1971 issue of “Weekly Shonen King” magazine




Published in the August 8, 1974 issue of “Manga Action” magazine



“Yellow Dust”

Published in the July 12, 1972 issue of “Young Comic” magazine



“Tenteke March”

Published in the September 1977 issue of “Monthly Shonen Jump” magazine



“The Destroyer of the Earth”

Published in the supplement to the October 1954 issue of “Bokeno” magazine



“Pornographic Pictures”

Published in the June 7, 1979 to December 20, 1979 issues of “Weekly Young Jump” magazine “The Battle at Hitokui Cape”



“The Paper Fortress”

Published in the September 30, 1974 issue of “Shonen King” magazine



“Black Jack”

Published in the June 26, 1978 issue of “Weekly Shonen Champion” magazine



“Rally up Mankind!”

Published in the January 25, 1967 to July 24, 1968 issues of “Shonen Manga Sunday”




2. War described in picture diaries

(The Exhibition on the Evacuation of Schoolchildren)


“To the children of the blue planet”


Today, scenes of people involved in a war are beamed into peoples’ homes by television, scenes like a crying mother carrying the dead body of her child in her arms, or thin, weak children wearing dirty clothes. Can you believe that similar scenes were seen in Japan as well?

Fifty years ago, we children evacuated the city and lived in the country. In order to avoid the intensifying air raids, children moved to safer places. There were two types of evacuation: evacuation through connections in which people sought refuge with their relatives or friends, and collective evacuation in which all students of a particular school moved to the countryside.

Under collective evacuation, children and their parents naturally lived separately.

In our case, we lived far away from our home for about 600 days.

We returned to our home in March of the year following the year when the war ended and found that the entire city had been reduced to ruins.

Picture diaries on display at this exhibition represent part of the records by children, who were called “minor citizens.” Minor citizens were supposed to endure all kinds of discontent. All anyone could say was, “I do not desire anything until Japan wins!”

We would like to tell you that life, freedom, and peace, which are taken for granted today, are very important to the lives of the people.

When you grow up, it is your turn to tell the next generation about the war experiences depicted in these picture diaries, which serve witness to the events of the time, and continue to convey the intense war experiences of young boys and girls to the next generation.

We hope that the earth’s blue shine will continue forever.

[Schoolchildren evacuation records preservation group]




Picture diaries


On display at the exhibition are picture diaries written by third- to sixth-grade students of the national school affiliated with Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School (the current elementary school affiliated with Ochanomizu University).

Instruction in the writing of picture diaries was given as soon as the students started going to school. A total of some 250 students participated in the evacuation program and all students were supposed to keep picture diaries. Ten years ago, however, volunteer graduates who were concerned about the weakening of the memory of war experiences and the decaying of the materials took the initiative to collect related materials, and found that about one-seventh of the participants in the evacuation program still possessed their picture diaries. Although only three of them had preserved their picture diaries in their entirety, picture diaries amounted to 70 volumes including partial sets. After the passage of 50 years, these picture diaries, covering a 20-month, period still vividly convey the experiences of boys and girls, aged around ten at the time.

There are only a few descriptions of loneliness, hunger, homesickness, and other hardships. Most of the descriptions relate to the disciplined lives of minor citizens during wartime.

Students wrote that they enjoyed meals, but they did not write that they wanted to eat more.

Most of the students on the evacuation program returned to their home two to three months after the war ended, but the students from this school passed the winter in the snow country and remained there until March of the following year.

For these children, the war ended only when they returned to their homes.