Photo/IllutrationAn illustration drawn by Osamu Tezuka for Katsura Harudanji II to promote a play titled “Akegarasu Yume no Awayuki”

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Illustrations have surfaced that manga legend Osamu Tezuka drew for the late “rakugo” comic storyteller Katsura Harudanji II when he was a student.

The nine images closely resemble those Tezuka (1928-1989) produced for a poster to promote a traveling show that the troupe led by Harudanji II (1894-1953) started in spring 1945.

An expert said the drawings, each measuring 14 centimeters by 20 cm, are done with ink brush and pen "in an untypical way (for Tezuka).”

“The illustrations show Tezuka roughly drew them with a pencil first, indicating he painted very carefully from early on in his career,” said Osamu Takeuchi, a sociology professor at Doshisha University, who has studied Tezuka’s style.

As the original images used for the poster had been sent to the printer, Harudanji II did not have any to hand. Tezuka is believed to have presented the nine illustrations to Harudanji II.

Details of the drawings are slightly different from those used for the original poster, a copy of which is owned by Tezuka Productions Co.

The illustrations were discovered in an envelope that was among the possessions of Harudanji II’s son, Katsura Harudanji III, who died in January 2016.

When he was a student, Tezuka lived in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. As Harudanji II lived close by, he asked Tezuka to do the illustrations for his troupe's poster.

The episode is included in Tezuka’s autobiography, titled “Boku wa Mangaka” (I am a manga artist), which was released in 1979.

Seven of the original illustrations were drawn for a play titled “Akegarasu Yume no Awayuki” (Crow cawing at daybreak and light snow in a dream) in which Harudanji II performed.

The remaining two were for classic rakugo story “Yadogae” (Change of lodgings) and an entertainment program called “Kokkei Nininbaori” (Funny nininbaori), respectively.

The poster includes a portrait of Harudanji II, but no portraits were found in the envelope.

Hisae Kawamoto, 90, the widow of Harudanji II, recalled a precious moment with the young Tezuka.

“When Tezuka received a fee for his works, he was surprised and asked ‘Can I get so much?’ ” she said. “He smiled and said it was ‘the first time I have received money for my paintings.’”