Osamu Tezuka’s Most Elusive Manga to Be Published Next Month


March 2020 will see the publication of a book containing works written by “the god of manga,” Osamu Tezuka (1928~89) from some of his earliest years as a manga artist. These books will contain some of his most elusive manga, such as those that were originally only published in newspapers during the late 1940s, and the near-legendary Romance Island. Historians have praised these finds as important materials that shine a light on Tezuka’s first forays in the world of professional manga.

The books will be published under the title TEZUKA OSAMU EARLY WORKS, and will be divided into two volumes of Tezuka Osamu shinbun manga shūsei (Osamu Tezuka newspaper manga collection) at 380 pages, and Romance Island at 110 pages.

The first volume begins with Diary of Mā-chan, Tezuka’s first manga which began serialization in 1946, when he was just 17. It contains all of his manga serialized in newspapers from 1946 to 1960, considered to be the early period of his work. It also features series such as Kasei tansakutai (Mars exploration team) and Denshi fujin (Electronic wife) which was published in a PR magazine for Matsushita Denki (Presently known as Panasonic). Many of these works are being published outside of their original newspaper serialization for the first time.

According to Sō Tanaka (59) who works at Tezuka Production’s archives and assisted with editing, the existence of most of these works was known, but getting their hands on the actual strips was difficult. As even the National Diet Library didn’t have the materials, the actual content of many early serialized works remained a mystery.

Their big break came when they found a scrapbook originally owned by Tezuka which contained newspaper clippings, including the original manga strips. Using the clippings as a base, the team strived to recreate how it would have looked when these strips were originally published in the newspapers.
On the other hand, Romance Island (1946) was one of Tezuka’s earliest works, drawn a year before his first manga published as a book, Shin Takarajima (New treasure island). Due to Romance Island’s use of light inks, printing at the time was incredibly difficult, leading to its publication being shelved.

While it was made into a book as part of a special offer to purchasers of a massive collection of all of Tezuka’s works, the book being released in March will be Romance Island’s first mass-market publication.
Doshisha University’s Professor Osamu Takeuchi (manga research), who is well-versed in the works of Tezuka, points out that “At this time, Tezuka was still figuring out whether he wanted to write for an audience of adults, or children. From the works in these two volumes, you can get a good sense of a trial-and-error nature of progress.” This book is already looking to be an invaluable resource in better understanding the career of one of manga’s most recognizable names.

The book will be published by 888Books, and began accepting internet pre-orders from February 9th, with a limited run of one-thousand copies and a price of 22,000 yen.

News Abstract from Article Originally Posted in Nikkei Shimbun February 7th 2019