Oi Polloi

Who is Osamu Tezuka?

Published: Wed Aug 28 2013

Who is Osamu Tezuka? Is he a hot-shot work-wear revisionist? Is he a world-renowned filmmaker responsible for some of the most memorable Japanese cinema of the last sixty years? Is he a humble fisherman from the Miyagi Prefecture of Japan? Well, it turns out he’s actually one of the most popular manga artists the world has ever seen.

Now I know nothing about manga. Alright, I know it’s from Japan, and I know it often involves people with funny haircuts, but that’s where my knowledge ends. So when some Lacoste L!VE polo shirts covered in the madcap designs by a chap named Osamu Tezuka landed up, I did what anyone in my position would do and fired his name straight into Google (sorry Jeeves). Here are a few choice facts from my research…

Osamu Tezuka is the man responsible for that weird little lad in underpants known as Astro-Boy. Other famous creations include a dodgy, unlicensed doctor called Black Jack and a friendly, vegetarian lion called Kimba.

Kimba the Lion is the story of a lion who becomes king of the jungle after the death of his father, and may or may not have been ripped off by Disney for The Lion King.

He came up with the idea of Astro Boy (a crime fighting robot) after an American G.I. punched him in the face.

A crucial scene from Black Jack

He also made a manga series called ‘Message to Adolf’, a hard hitting tale of three men named Adolf (one of them is Adolf Hitler, if you’re wondering), set under the backdrop of Nazi Germany.

He’s credited as the inventor of the signature ‘large-eyes’ style of Japanese animation. This was apparently influenced by his love of Bambi, Mickey Mouse and Betty Boop.

He started his career as an illustrator by sitting through Disney films, sketching the characters and then selling the pictures outside the cinema.

He died of stomach cancer in 1989 at the age of 60. Not one for lazing around, his last words were, “I’m begging you, let me work.”

The cover of Osamu’s breakout hit, The Mysterious Underground Men

Osamu turned down the role of art director for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as he was too busy with his own work.

He was a descendent of a samurai named Hattori Hanzo, who was not only an expert tactician, but, according to Wikipedia, could also teleport and move objects with his mind.

See the Lacoste L!VE Osamu Tezuka t-shirts and polos