It is always hard to come up with adequate words for the role that Osamu Tezuka played in the development of Japanese comics and Japanese animation. The epithets are plenty – “one of the most respected cultural figures of 20th century Japan”, “godfather” of anime/manga, “God of manga”, even “God of comics” – and there is a reason for them.
But, at the same time, when considering Tezuka, it is also crucially important to avoid exaggeration and hyperbole, to evaluate the man and his work critically, to consider it in a proper context. Yes, Tezuka largely defined “manga” and “anime” as we know them, and his influence on anime and manga is felt to the present day. But, for example, no, Osamu Tezuka did not “invent” Japanese comics or Japanese animation. How “manga” and “anime” would have developed without him and what form Japanese comics and Japanese animation would have taken in his absence is a valid question, but there is no reason to assume that these forms of popular visual culture would not have existed at all without Osamu Tezuka.
Regardless, t is also no surprise that Tezuka – the artist, the writer, the creator – has been the subject of significant scholarly attention. For example, he is one of only four anime/manga creators who are the subject of a full-length English-language study of their work – the others being Hayao Miyazaki, Mamoru Oshii, and Satoshi Kon.
As I have for the other “specialized” bibliographies of leading anime/manga creators that I have prepared so far (all of which are available on the Bibliographies page of this site), to assemble the bibliography of English-language academic writing on Osamu Tezuka, I used a number of resources. I have searched a number of general and subject-specific academic databases, as well as Google Scholar and Google Books, and reviewed the tables of contents of several essay collections that focus specifically on anime/manga, or that contain chapters on these topics. As with the other bibliographies that I assemble, it includes books, book chapters, and articles published in academic journals; it does not include book reviews, magazine articles, personal essays, or blog posts.
Having said that, the list that I compiled is necessarily subjective – and I will be happy to consider additional items to include in it. Furthermore, as it exists, it so far only covers English-language academic writing published since 2010 – and will serve as the first part of a more comprehensive, ongoing project.
This bibliography is also available as a separate page. Any new updates will be reflected on that page only, not in this post.
Creator Bibliography – Osamu Tezuka
Part 1: 2010 – present
- Whaley, Ben. Three cases of fatal mixing in the war comics of Tezuka Osamu. International Journal of Comic Art, 16(1), 244-257.
- Mechademia: An Annual Forum for Anime, Manga, and the Fan Arts
Volume 8 – Tezuka’s Manga Life
Each annual volume of Mechademia is centered around a common theme. The 2013 volume consists of a number of original essays on Tezuka’s life, comics, anime, and other projects, a translation of two chapters originally published in 1992 in a Japanese book on Tezuka, an original short manga that Tezuka created, and two other manga that use him as an inspiration.
- Chow, Kenny K.N. From haiku and handscroll to Tezuka: Refocusing space and camera in the narrative of animation. In Masao Yokota and Tzu-yue G. Hu (Eds.), Japanese animation: East Asian perspectives (pp. 183-195). Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.
- Hutchinson, Rachael. Sabotaging the rising sun: Representing history in Tezuka Osamu’s Phoenix In Roman Rosenbaum (Ed.), Manga and the representation of Japanese history (pp. 18-39). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
- Kon, Dong-Yeon. Growing up with Astro Boy and Mazinger Z: Industrialization, “high-tech world”, and Japanese animation in the art and culture of South Korea. In Masao Yokota and Tzu-yue G. Hu (Eds.), Japanese animation: East Asian Perspectives (pp. 155-182). Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.
- Rosenbaum, Roman. Reading Showa history through manga: Astro Boy as the avatar of postwar Japanese culture. In Roman Rosenbaum (Ed.), Manga and the representation of Japanese History (pp. 40-59). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
- Yamanashi, Makiko. Tezuka and takarazuka. Intertwined roots of Japanese popular culture. In Masao Yokota and Tzu-yue G. Hu (Eds.), Japanese animation: East Asian Perspectives (pp. 135-154). Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.
- Vollmar, Rob. Dark side of the manga: Tezuka Osamu’s dark period. World Literature Today, 86(2), 14-19.
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- Benzon, William. Dr. Tezuka’s ontology laboratory and the discovery of Japan. In Timothy Perper and Martha Cornog (Eds.), Mangatopia: Essays on manga and anime in the modern world (pp. 37-52). Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.
- Ito, Kinko. Osamu Tezuka: His life, works, and contributions to the history of modern Japanese comics. International Journal of Comic Art, 13(2), 679-699.
- Palmer, Ada. All life is genocide: The philosophical pessimism of Osamu Tezuka. In Timothy Perper and Martha Cornog (Eds.), Mangatopia: Essays on manga and anime in the modern world (pp. 173-190). Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.
- Sunder, Madhavi. Bollywood/Hollywood. Theoretical Inquiries in Law, 12(1), 275-308.
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- Theisen, Nicholas. Declassicizing the classical in Japanese comics: Osamu Tezuka’s Apollo’s Song. In George Kovacs and C. W. Marshall (Eds.), Classics and comics (pp. 59-72). New York: Oxford University Press.
- Brophy, Philip. Osamu Tezuka’s gekiga: Behind the mask of manga. In Toni Johnson-Woods (Ed.), Manga: An anthology of global and cultural perspectives (pp. 128-136). New York: Continuum.
- Lamarre, Thomas. Speciecism, part II: Tezuka Osamu and the multispecies ideal. Mechademia: An Annual Forum for Anime, Manga, and the Fan Arts, 5, 51-85.
- Palmer, Ada. You, God of Manga, are cruel. In Josef Steiff and Adam Barkman (Eds.), Manga and philosophy: Fullmetal metaphysician (pp. 17-36). Chicago: Open Court.
- Rosenbaum, Roman. Tezuka Osamu: Adolf – Towards a historio-graphic novel. International Journal of Comic Art, 415-434.
- Schaub, Joseph. Mecha-topia: Imagining a posthuman paradise in Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis. Interdisciplinary Humanities, 27(2), 94-110.
- Sheridan, Bruce. Imagination rising. In Josef Steiff and Adam Barkman (Eds.), Manga and philosophy: Fullmetal metaphysician (pp. 37-49). Chicago: Open Court.
- Tamplin, Tristan D. You need a system to play Black Jack. In Josef Steiff and Adam Barkman (Eds.), Manga and philosophy: Fullmetal metaphysician (pp. 3-15). Chicago: Open Court.
- Tanaka, Yuki. War and peace in the art of Tezuka Osamu: The humanism of his epic manga. The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.
English-language scholarly works on Tezuka published before 2010 are listed in the Bibliography section of the excellent and comprehensive Tezuka in English website. I provided much of the original content for that section, and will be working to add to it.