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Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum July 3, 2011

Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Japan, Manga, Personal, Travel.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum sign

One of the highlights of my trip to Japan was a visit to this shrine to the ‘God of Manga’ Osamu Tezuka.

Given how many times I’ve been to Kansai, I’d thought about stopping by many times before, but never quite had the time or inclination. For one thing, I haven’t actually read or watched that much of his original work. Probably the closest I’ve come is watching recent remakes or reimaginings, like Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto series. This is not to say I’m ignorant – I’m fully aware of Tezuka-sensei’s influence and history (it’s hard for any anime or manga fan not to be). In fact, one of the earliest anime I saw as a child was a bastardised cut of an adaptation of his Phoenix series. It confused the hell out of me as a five year old, but it says something about Tezuka’s vision that part of it still sticks in my memory despite my youth, not to mention the bad dubbing and editing.

The Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum is based in Tezuka’s home town of Takarazuka, an easy 40 minute ride from Osaka Station on the JR Takarazuka line. Exiting the station into a little shopping mall, you quickly find Atom pointing the way.

Atom sign

The museum itself is a 10-15 minute walk along Takarazuka’s famous Hana-no-michi (Flower Avenue), which also takes in Takarazuka’s other famous landmark, the Grand Theatre of the all-female Takarazuka Revue.

Hana no michi

At the end of Hana no michi lies the museum. You can’t really miss it, what with the bronze seals of Tezuka characters dotted around it and the huge statue of the aforementioned Phoenix.

Black Jack

Phoenix Statue

One thing I particularly liked was the Tezuka ‘Walk of Fame’ with each pavement leading up to the entrance marked by the ‘hand or foot prints’ of various Tezuka characters (even the animals and giant robots!).

Tezuka Walk of Fame

Entering the museum itself is to enter an anime fan’s dream. It’s wall-to-wall character murals, statues and toys – even the ceilings and windows!

Entrance hall, Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum

Princess Knight statue

Tezuka mural floor

There’s also a display cabinet and desk of Tezuka-related merchandise.

Tezuka merchandise

The museum proper begins on the ground (first) floor with an introduction to Osamu Tezuka’s life and work. The narrative flows chronologically from his childhood in Takarazuka to his life as a doctor and his earliest manga. This quickly picks up pace as the ‘God of Manga’ really earns his title with a prolific work rate: Tezuka authored over 700 manga in his lifetime, probably more than anyone else is ever going to and at a time when the industry itself wasn’t as established as today.

Phoenix airlocks

I knew he’d done a lot, but seeing all those works laid out on a timeline on the wall really hit home how much of a workaholic he was. But then, if you had so many good ideas and the drive to tell them, wouldn’t you be?

Tezuka timeline

The main attractions of the first floor are the various photos and sketches of Tezuka’s life, displayed in a series of Phoenix airlock capsules. There were a fair number of captions in Japanese that I couldn’t really read. However, this didn’t detract from an appreciation of his art.

Tezuka early sketches

Particularly notable for me was his attention to detail. It’s been said before how influential his use of anatomical knowledge and scientific realism was in manga, but to see microscope sketches he’d made as a doctor and researcher was something else.

Tezuka medical sketches

Other highlights included anime production sketches, various translations and original prints of his manga, as well as his trademark hat and glasses.

Tezuka's trademark beret and glasses

Metropolis manga

As a nerd, I’m a sucker for attention to detail, so I appreciated the little touches, such as the elevator and wall murals, the little caricature Tezuka’s strewn around the museum and the ‘life-size’ statues of characters dotted at various spots around the building.

Tezuka caricature


Kimba the white lion

The Dr's

Down in the basement is the workshop area where they run animation sessions for kids. It also hosts a brief history of animation and a recreation of Tezuka’s studio.

Tezuka caricature

Up on the second floor is a temporary exhibition space. This time it was hosting a display on Tezuka’s Buddha manga, celebrating the first in a trilogy of Buddha movies that had just opened in Japanese cinemas.

Buddha exhibition

The display was pretty good, with original production sketches from the movie (with the trailer running on loop in the background), a brief history of the real Buddha and an overview of the manga with original page art on display.

Buddha production sketches and cells

Buddha exhibit

Buddha manga

I haven’t read any of Buddha, but I’m intrigued enough now to give it a try. It’s an epic story, taking in a rich prince’s spoiled life, fall and rise, battles around Southeast Asia and the Buddha’s eventual enlightenment (the first movie only seems to cover the prince arc of the story). More than that though, I was really taken with the Tezuka’s beautiful art.

Also on the second floor is a small giftshop, as well as the Kimba the White Lion Jungle Cafe. But the real highlight, perhaps of the whole museum itself, is the library. Here, you can freely read copies of any of Tezuka’s works. Amazingly, they have the translations too, so whatever language you’re looking for, you can probably find it on the shelves. Browsing, I had no idea Tezuka had also penned a biography of Hitler. Sci-fi, shojo, shonen, Buddha and Hitler. Is there nothing he didn’t tackle?

Tezuka manga library

If reading’s not your thing there’s also a bank of computers allowing you to browse further information on the Tezuka universe and watch anime episodes from their archives. There are also some pretty displays of the complete sets of each manga.

Tetsuwan Atom manga

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and only wish I’d allowed more time to take it all in. The museum runs a loyalty stamp system, so I have an extra incentive to maintain my patronage next time I come to Kansai.

The Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum costs 700 yen to enter and is well worth your time and money. They even have an English map/pamphlet. You can see the whole thing in an hour or so, but it’s worth dedicating several hours, if not a whole day, to get the most out of it – especially if you’re a big fan of Tezuka or manga/anime in general.

Tezuka's universe

Osamu Tezuka

If you’d like to see my full set of photos from the museum, see this set on Flickr.


1. Japan 2011 – the otaku’s tale « Canned Memory - July 4, 2011

[…] trip to Japan is complete without a bit of fanboying. I’ve written about the Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum and Tetsujin 28 statue already (the Tezuka museum was probably the otaku highlight of my trip). […]

2. Japan trip 2011 « Canned Memory - August 14, 2011

[…] detour to Takarazuka. My main reason was to visit the Osamu Tezuka Memorial Museum (full details in this post), but I enjoyed the pleasant walk through Hana-no-michi and was intrigued to pass the famous […]

3. Antonio Raveau Drouilly - February 23, 2012

That’s beautiful.

4. Arnau - February 23, 2012


5. Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum « Vườn heo - February 25, 2012

[…] Copyright: https://cannedmemory.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/osamu-tezuka-manga-museum/ […]

6. gerigiang - February 25, 2012

Thank you for your comment.
I am so truly sorry. I have seen my mistake and will never do it again. I will fix that now.
I’m a fan of Tezuka and I love your blog.
When I posted this entry, the internet went down. So I could not link back to the original source and ask for your permission.
Again I deeply apologize to you.

Mun-Keat - February 26, 2012

No worries. Thanks for fixing. I thought it must have been an honest mistake!

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