Newly Identified Cartoon Shows Different Side of Osamu Tezuka; Book Features Manga Legend’s Work for Mature Audience

©Tezuka Productions Co.
A newly rediscovered work of Osamu Tezuka that appeared in the June 1962 issue of “Men’s Club”

A one-panel cartoon that appeared in a magazine about 60 years ago has recently been identified as the work of mangaka Osamu Tezuka (1928-89).

The color work that appeared in the June 1962 issue of “Men’s Club” had not been published in a book and was not even known to Tezuka Productions Co.

With a subtle dark sense of humor targeted at adult readers, the satirical cartoon shows a different side of the mangaka who is widely known for his works for children.

Captioned “Captain! This is not a planet. This is … for prisoners,” the cartoon depicts a spaceship approaching planet-like spheres that resemble balls with chains, to which the clawed limbs of what look like colossal aliens are shackled.

At the time, the concept of space exploration was in the spotlight during the high economic growth period.

Tezuka was so prolific that he is said to have drawn about 150,000 sheets during his lifetime. Tezuka Productions keeps a list of his works, but even today, materials not on the list are still being found.

The newly confirmed piece was found in a copy of the magazine owned by the late former head of Tezuka Productions’ archives.

Separately, an unpublished one-panel drawing with an erotic touch was also confirmed to be his work. Both were included in “Tezuka Osamu Otona Manga Taizen” (Osamu Tezuka’s mature manga collection), a publication released Monday by Kokushokankokai Inc.

Tezuka was said to enjoy drawing satirical cartoons for newspapers and magazines. He was once quoted as saying, “For me, it is cathartic to indulge myself in drawing with a certain degree of maturity, using satire and sarcasm to the fullest extent.”

In 1963, the anime series “Astro Boy” began to air on TV. He was drawing works for both adults and children concurrently.