The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga

Astro Boy image © Tezuka Production

“… far and away the only volume in the West that truly captures the scope of the Astro Boy creator’s contribution to manga, animation and world pop culture … a fascinating, exhaustively researched study…”

   Steve Bunche, Publishers’ Weekly

“… an absolute treasure-trove for anyone who wants to learn more about the God of Manga and his varied creative output.”

NEO magazine

”… couches Tezuka in a way that relies on little foreknowledge of Tezuka, his works, anime or manga … effectively communicates the point in a way that is meaningful whether or not you approach the book with topical interest.”

 Ain’t It Cool News

“…a very approachable work for beginners, but also a useful reference for those more familiar, providing concise summaries of numerous series, many obscure and unavailable outside Japan.”


“Contending with a body of work as massive as Tezuka’s and coming up with a book that is beautiful, useful and legitimately informative is no mean feat.”

David E. Ford, Jnr., comicsforserious

“Helen McCarthy is certainly knowledgeable about her subject… but she’s also engaging and entertaining as a writer, making Osamu Tezuka’s life story easy to lose oneself in.”

Jitendar Canth, MyReviewer

This book developed out of a growing awareness that I really knew very little of the work of one of the most influential figures in 20th-century Japanese popular culture. The more I found out about Osamu Tezuka, the more fascinating paths and unexplored byways opened up. The man best known in the English-speaking world for Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion was also a doctor, writer, designer, teacher, critic, commentator and one-man idea factory, a powerhouse of creative activity with a phenomenal output.

  Tezuka’s influence spreads far beyond anime and manga – scientists, surgeons and researchers all attribute their choice of career path directly to him, and medical and robotic advances now being developed were foreshadowed in his work decades ago. In 2008, 80 years after his birth, I curated and presented a retrospective of his  animation and a small exhibition on his life and art at the Barbican in London. A year later, this book commemorated the 20th anniversary of his death.

With the support of the company he founded, Tezuka Production, we were able to include hundreds of beautiful pictures, many never before printed outside Japan, including rare archive shots of Tezuka’s family, early life and childhood works.

The book has already succeeded in one of its aims – to generate a wider awareness of Tezuka in Britain and the USA – through print and online features and reviews in The GuardianThe Daily TelegraphThe Wall Street JournalDesign WeekDazed Digital, and elsewhere. Progress towards the other aim – to introduce new fans to Tezuka, and encourage existing fans to seek out more of his astonishing body of work – is still ongoing.

The beautifully translated French and Italian editions have their own cover designs but share the same internal design and layout as the English-language editions. The only other difference is that the UK and US editions have an English-subtitled DVD showing Tezuka at work.

French edition cover





As of March 2014, the book has also been translated into Chinese.

The Art of Osamu Tezuka, God of Manga - now available in Chinese!

The Art of Osamu Tezuka, God of Manga – now available in Chinese!

In October 2014 it appeared in Japanese. I had no idea how it would fare in the subject’s home market, but it was successful enough that less than six months later an industry figure referred to me in conversation as “Tezuka-senpai’s biographer.” In my opinion that title should rightly belong to his friend and translator Frederik L. Schodt, author of The Astro Boy Essays, but until Fred decides to write a Tezuka biography I’m happy to keep the seat warm.

Japanese edition, 2014

Japanese edition, 2014

In a Tokyo bookstore window, October 2014

In a Tokyo bookstore window, October 2014

3 thoughts on “The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga

  1. Pingback: Filmfaglig seminar 2012 fokuserer på Japan! « NFK – filmklubbforbundet

  2. Pingback: Osamu Tezuka: The Secret of Creation | Helen McCarthy: A Face Made for Radio

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