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. (more…)