Tezuka, Dr. Osamu
Born: November 3, 1928 Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan
Heralded by many as the "God of Manga," Tezuka Osamu was one of Japan's most cherished and prolific manga and anime artists. He has been described as the "Japanese Walt Disney," despite his reported disdain for the company. He, perhaps more than any other artist, was responsible for the very characteristic "puppy-dog eyes" which has become a trademark of Japanese animation, though he later admitted being heavily influenced by the works of Walt Disney -- in particular, Bambi. Dr. Tezuka did receive his medical degree from Osaka University in 1946, though he concentrated on his career of choice: the art of manga and animation. His most famous creation is probably 'Tetsuwan Atom', which has a large following internationally as 'AstroBoy'. NBC later aired three of his TV series: AstroBoy, Kimba the White Lion (which many have claimed as Disney's inspiration for The Lion King), and Princess Knight.
His first production company, formed in 1961, 'Mushi Productions', was later replaced by his namesake corporation, 'Tezuka Productions' in 1968. Dr. Tezuka was heavily involved with experimental animation, and had won several international animation awards, including the Grand Prix for Jumping at the 1984 Zagreb International Festival, the Grand Prix for Broken Down Film at the Hiroshima International Animation Festival, and the CIFEJ award for Legend of the Forest at the 1988 Zagreb International Film Festival.
A cursory list of his works include:
The National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo held a public exhibit of Dr. Tezuka's works in 1990 -- the first ever for a "commercial manga artist." April 24, 1994 became a hallmark in manga and anime history: The Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum was opened in his hometown of Takarazuka, in memory of the prolific artist.
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