Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tezuka Gene: Light in the Darkness

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of Osamu Tezuka's birth, a special art exhibition of inspired by Tezuka's work is taking place at Parco Part One in Shibuya. It's on until November 10th, and features the works of 35 artists.

There is some very cool artwork here, featuring many of Tezuka's famous characters, including Astro Boy and Black Jack. And, of course, plenty of merchandise to buy from the looks of things as well. Take a look at some pictures on the Mainichi Daily News website.

UPDATE: The Daily Yomiuri Online has posted an article about the exhibition. There are no pictures, but it is a more detailed written account. Read "Diverse tribute to 'God of Manga'" on their website or click the link below to read an archived copy right here.

UPDATE 2: Pink Tentacle also has coverage, with some high quality pictures of the artwork. Check out "Tezuka manga mutations".

Diverse tribute to 'God of Manga'

Tom Baker / Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer

A crudely stitched scar slashing diagonally across his face makes Black Jack instantly recognizable. It's easy to spot this Osamu Tezuka manga character at the "Tezuka Gene: Light in the Darkness" show at the Parco department store in Shibuya, Tokyo, even though he has been reimagined by several artists in different styles.

Tezuka (1928-1989) had his own distinctive style, but the early influence of Walt Disney animation remained clearly visible in it. Even when his material was dark and sinister, his characters were cute.

Present-day artist Kyotaro Aoki has taken Black Jack and characters from Tezuka's Dororo, MW, Ode to Kirihito and other manga and changed their cartoon faces into lifelike pencil portraits, showing what they might look like in the real world.

While Aoki adds detail, Akihiro Soma (Concorde), strips it away, presenting Black Jack in a minimalist torn-paper collage resembling the work of American illustrator Eric Carle (known for his kids picture books such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar).

An art collective known as Enlightenment takes the liberty of making Black Jack a woman, in a large painting in which the outlaw surgeon is partly hidden by drugs, money and other symbolic objects flying out of her billowing cape.

The group also painted an image inspired by MW in which two nude men embrace behind an ornate crucifix. In that convoluted manga story, a young terrorist genius uses his sexual magnetism to torment a Catholic priest (who earlier in life had been a gang member who kidnapped him), turning the older man into a pawn in an apocalyptic plot.

Enlightenment also contributed a trippy light show in which viewers stand in a dark room facing a projector that beams swirling images at them through four layers of transparent screens. Some of the images are silhouettes of Tezuka characters; the rest are abstract patterns.

Other artists have contributed Lego models of Tezuka character Astro Boy, a kaleidoscopic flower video meant to evoke themes from Tezuka's manga biography of Buddha and even a large mobile of thick-framed glasses and jaunty berets of the type the "God of Manga" used to wear.

Despite the variety, the exhibit is small enough to absorb in about a 15-minute visit--but longer if you stay to watch the videos that include interview footage with Tezuka and a trailer for next year's live-action movie version of MW.

"Tezuka Gene: Light in the Darkness" runs until Nov. 10 at the Parco Factory art gallery in the Parco department Store in Shibuya, Tokyo, a seven-minute walk from Shibuya Station. Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (to 6 p.m. on Nov. 10) with last admission 30 minutes before closing time. Admission is 300 yen, or 200 yen for students, with children primary school age or younger admitted free. For details, visit
(Nov. 7, 2008)


NiƱa Llama said...

it's so beautiful your blog
i'm from mexico!!!!!
i'm fan from hell of astroboy