Do you think Walt Disney ever scratched his butt in public?
Sure, it may not be the classiest thing to do, but sometimes when you’ve got an itch, it needs to be scratched right away. It doesn’t make him a monster, it just means, like all of us, occasionally his base urges won out against social propriety.
Still, it’s a little hard to reconcile the man responsible for Mickey Mouse having an itchy behind. Just like it’s a little shocking to learn that Osamu Tezuka, the creator of Astro Boy, kept a stash of sexy mouse drawings locked in his desk.
In Japan’s sizeable pantheon of beloved comic artists, Tezuka is Zeus. He’s uniformly referred to as Manga no Kami-sama, literally the “God of Manga.” Despite having passed away more than 25 years ago, Tezuka is still so famous and uniformly revered that fans will come to see exhibitions of things as mundane as a desk he worked at.
▼ Osamu Tezuka: manga artist, trained medical doctor, lover of berets…and mice?
Tezuka is survived by his daughter, Rumiko, who works as a producer involved with her father’s vast intellectual properties. Recently, Rumiko managed to open up her father’s desk, which had been locked, with the key missing, since his passing in 1989.
Inside, she found a mix of the ordinary and extraordinary. A half-eaten piece of chocolate speaks poignantly to the transient nature of life. A hand-written essay regarding Katsuhiro Otomo, who proved in 1988 that he could direct as well as he could draw with the astounding theatrical animated version of his masterpiece Akira, show a magnanimous side to the God of Manga in his willingness to acknowledge the talents of those coming up in the industry in which he had been the principal figure for most of his professional life.
▼ Tetsuwan Atom, retitled for international release as Astro Boy, remains Tezuka’s best-loved work.
Of greatest interest to manga fans though, were the bags of sketches by the artist which were discovered inside his desk. The drawings, such as these of the protagonist of Tezuka’s 1970s manga series Marvelous Melmo, were later authenticated by the studio archivist.
However, not all of the subject matter was as kid-friendly, as Rumiko announced on Twitter that among the artwork uncovered was a huge number of erotic sketches produced by her late father.
▼ We realize these things are more accepted as just another form of expressing your talents in families of great artists, but should our kids ever stumble across one of our old skin rags, we hope they handle the discovery with a little more discretion than Rumiko.
For her part, Tezuka’s daughter seemed relatively unfazed by what she’d found, jokingly praising her father’s “self-censorship” in not publishing the artwork, and even going so far as to call the characters “cute.” And in all fairness, plenty of manga artists have produced erotic drawings, whether to pay the bills, brush up on their anatomy-drawing technique, or even just get the creative juices flowing. In one way, Tezuka’s foray into pencil and paper perviness isn’t so strange.
In another way, though, it’s a little out there, since several of the suggestive drawings were of an anthropomorphic mouse. Don’t worry, though, it’s not like all the pictures are focused on her voluminous mouse breasts.
▼ See? A few call attention to her shapely rodent derriere, instead!
“I’ve got no idea what these were going to be used for,” tweeted Rumiko, and we think we’re OK with that mystery being left unsolved.