A series of rare and early illustrations by manga artist Osamu Tezuka (1928 – 89) have been discovered. The illustrations feature comedic scenes and an advertisement for rakugo artist Katsura Harudanji II (1894 – 1953).
Rakugo is a traditional form of comedic Japanese storytelling. And the prints by Osamu Tezuka, now famous for his many titles which include Astro Boy and Black Jack, were thought to be created in 1945 when Tezuka was just 17 years old. The prints were discovered after the son, Katsura Harudanji III, passed away earlier this year in January and his belongings were being sorted.
According to an announcement made by relatives, Harudanji II had been looking for an artist to create a poster for him and was introduced to Tezuka by a friend. Tezuka reportedly claimed that it was the first time he received payment for work, indicating that these prints may very well be Tezuka’s first illustrations as a professional artist.