Osamu Tezuka

Cartoonist / Animator

Born: 3 November 1928
Died: 8 February 1989 (stomach cancer)
Birthplace: Toyonoka City, Japan
Best known as: The godfather of Japanese animation
Osama Tezuka made cartooning and animation into serious art forms in Japan, where he is often compared with Walt Disney. Tezuka was still a medical student when he began drawing a serial newspaper strip called Machan no Nikkicho ("Diary of Ma-chan"). Soon he was publishing book-length comic book stories, or manga; his New Treasure Island was released to much acclaim in 1947 and sold 400,000 copies. He earned his medical degree from Osaka University in 1951, but then turned full-time to manga and its animated cousin, anime. By that time he had already created what would become his most famous characters, the robot-boy Atom Taishi (or Astro Boy) and the compassionate lion known as Jungle Emperor Leo. Tekuda specialized in long-form stories, with a cinematic visual style and long, intricate dramatic sequences. He was remarkable for his output and sheer versatility: He did dramas, comedies, adult strips, cute kiddie strips, and sci-fi. He also created the saucer-eyed style which became a staple of Japanese animation, as seen in characters like Speed Racer and Sailor Moon.
Extra credit: Tezuka was a big fan of Disney movies; according to legend, he saw Bambi over 80 times.

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