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Known as the "godfather of manga," Osamu Tezuka is Japan's most prolific manga creator to date with over 700 original series to his name. Tezuka is widely credited for pushing the medium to its mainstream popularity after World War II.
The eldest of three children, Osamu Tezuka was born in Osaka, Japan in 1928. He grew up in Kobe, teased for his unusually wavy hair, but his mother encouraged him. She also took him to the Takarazuka Theater, where an all-female troupe performed romantic musicals that had an impact on many of Tezuka's works in life, including his creation of the shoujo genre. Tezuka also grew up with a sincere love for nature, particularly insects-- he even named his production company Mushi (Worm/Bug) Productions. He also eventually added the kanji for "mushi" to the end of his name, although this did not change the pronunciation of the name.
Tezuka began drawing comics as a child, and created his first works (Diary of Ma-chan and New Treasure Island)when he was only 17, shortly after the end of World War II. His works launched what would become the "golden age" of manga. Their distinct style-- large eyes derived from American cartoons like Betty Boop and Disney toons --combined with relatively sophisticated stories made for popular reading with people of all ages in post-war Japan. It's important to note that the outcome of World War II had a direct impact on the differences between American and Japanese comics: American creators leaned towards idealistic worlds and character and towards sheltering children. After the events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the idea of hiding the darker sides of life from children seemed laughable, resulting in comparably darker and more explorative story-telling.
At one point in his young life, Tezuka became ill to a degree that his arms swelled up. During his time at the hospital recovering, he decided to study medicine. As such, he actually went to school and earned a medical degree, then he asked his mother if he should do manga or doctoring full-time. His mother told him to do what made him happy, and he worked on manga. However, his time in the medical field influenced many of his works, particularly Black Jack, the tale of a genius rogue surgeon.