Astro Boy creator Tezuka’s sketches in spotlight at Tokyo exhibition

TOKYO —

Memorial sketches by legendary Japanese ‘‘manga’’ comic artist Osamu Tezuka and his work desk will be among the items on display to the public for the first time at a commemorative exhibition commencing Saturday in Tokyo. The exhibition comes as the work of Japan’s pioneering postwar manga artist is drawing attention prior to the release this October of ‘‘Astro Boy,’’ a computer-generated Hollywood film featuring Tezuka’s signature creation.

Tezuka used the steel work desk at his home in Tokyo to draw a number of manga stories, according to Tezuka Productions Co, an atelier he set up.

Another item on display is a wooden board bearing Tezuka’s sketches telling a little-known story about Tezuka’s friendship in the 1980s with a news reporter who was covering the police beat at the time, according to Mika Suzuki of the atelier.

Suzuki is producing the exhibition titled ‘‘The 80th Anniversary of Tezuka Osamu: Messages to the Future’’ at the Edo Tokyo Museum.

The board used to be a ceiling panel in Tezuka’s now demolished ‘‘Tokiwa So’’ apartment, where he lived in 1953. The apartment provided a home for Tezuka and other manga giants such as Fujio Fujiko, who authored the popular comic featuring feline robot Doraemon, and Shotaro Ishinomori.

After Tezuka and the reporter learned that the apartment was going to be demolished, the reporter took the ceiling panel as a memento and Tezuka drew some sketches of the main characters from his manga stories on it.

The whereabouts of the ceiling panel had been unknown but the organizers of the exhibition recently learned that it was in a workroom for the press at Ikegukuro Police Station, Suzuki said.

The exhibition also features Tezuka’s early works such as ‘‘Diary of Ma-chan,’’ which he wrote while attending university, and a comic he drew during his childhood called ‘‘Pinpin Sei-chan.’’

‘‘We’re hoping that at least 120,000 people will visit the exhibition (during the two-month period),’’ said Yuko Eriguchi, curator of the museum.

Tezuka, who was born in November 1928 and graduated from Osaka University with a medical degree, left a rich legacy as a manga master, animator and producer before his death in 1989.

credits goes to Japan Today

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