Tokiwa Sou

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Probably one of the seminal events in the history of manga development was the establishment of Osamu Tezuka's manga team in Tokiwa Sou (Tokiwa Mansion).  While Tokiwa is widely known in Japan,  it's kind of an open secret in the U.S.  That is, there's information about Tokiwa in wikipedia and some people within large anime clubs are familiar with it, but most other manga fans have never heard the name and don't really know what it represents.  This page was designed to get past that point.

Osamu Tezuka is often called the "father of manga" and the "god of manga".  This isn't just because he created "Tetsuwan Atomu" (Astro Boy), "Jungle Taitei" (Kimba the White Lion), "Black Jack", "Hi no Tori" (The Phoenix), "Buddha" or "MW".  And it's not just because he developed the first 30-minute black and white anime TV series (Atom), the first 30 minute color TV series (Jungle Taitei) or that he's credited with drawing 150,000 pages of artwork for 700+ volumes.  In with this prodigious output, he led the forefront in creating a story-driven comic, while also establishing many of the visual shorthand techniques still used today (such as putting a bandage on someone's head right after they bump into the border of the strip to indicate that they received damage from it).  Yet, his biggest impact may have been from his development of the house system, in which a lead manga artist employs several assistants in order to draw quality strips within a deadline.  This house system is still in use and is one way budding artists get enough experience to branch out on their own later on.

Tezuka's breakout work was "Shin Takarajima" (New Treasure Island), started in 1947, and based on Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island".  In 1953 he was living in Tokiwa, usually assumed to be an apartment building, in Toshima-ku, Tokyo.  I say "usually assumed" because in 2009, a Kawasaki museum exhibit on the 50th anniversaries of Shonen Sunday and Shonen Magajin magazines included a recreation of the building, which was shown to be a small wooden house divided up into several separate living spaces.  According to wikipedia, Tokiwa stood from '52 to '82 when it was demolished, although Tezuka only lived there for about the first 2 years of that.             -- Curtis Hoffmann (ThreeStepsOverJapan, 2009)


A comment about some of the pictures below.  The "Heroes of Tokiwa Sou" exhibit in 2009 included a souvenir book that had photos of many of the Tokiwa Manor artists plus some of the artists that would visit them at times.  For those people where I couldn't find photos from the manga dust jackets, I used the shots from the souvenir book.  Those were taken back in the 1950's and hence look pretty dated.  They also don't resize well.  I'm including them here just to "attach a face to the name".  I apologize for the lack of quality.


Manga artists known to have lived at Tokiwa Sou include:

Osamu Tezuka


Himself, of course.


Hiroo Terada

(1931-1992) Terada, usually referred to as "Tera-san" was one of the early contributors to Shonen Sunday. "Sportsman Kintaro" ran from 1959-1963.  He followed this with the baseball story "Sebangou 0" (Number 0, 1960-1961), "Wanpaku Kisha" (Naughty Reporter), "Kurayami Godan" (1963-1964) and others.  The Japanese wiki entry lists 14 major titles, most of which have little information on them on-line.

Write up on Kurayami Godan here.


Shoutaro Ishinomori

(1938-1998) Principally known for his Cyborg 009 series (which ran 36 volumes, and introduced the concept of superhero teams) and Kamen Rider, although the Japanese wiki lists 49 different titles total. He was one of the co-founders of Studio Zero, and went on to become the company's president 7 years later. 

Write up on Hotel here.


Akatsuka Fujio

(1935-2008) Arguably one of the most-beloved gag artists in Japan, for his "Himitsu no Akko-chan" (Mysterious Akko), the pre-cursor to magical girls stories, and "Tensai Bakabon" (The Genius Idiot).  Tensai Bakabon was initially animated by Studio Zero.  Starting in 2000, he drew manga in Braille for the visually impaired.

Write up on the Fujio Akatsuka Hall here.


Fujio Fujiko

Fujiko F Fujio

Fujiko A Fujio

(FFF: 1933-1996 and FAF: 1934-) Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko teamed up in the 1950's to work as the duo "Fujio Fujiko", and the partnership ended in 1987 when they went their separate ways.  As mentioned below they were two of the co-founders of Studio Zero.  After they broke up, they continued using the pen names "Fujio F Fujiko" and "Fujio A Fujiko".  FFF created "Doraemon", "Per-man", "Esper Mami" and "Chimpui".  FAF created "Ninja Hattori-kun", "Warau Salesman" and "Parasol Henbe".  Together as Fujio Fujiko, they created "Obake no Q-taro" and FAF may have assisted on some of the early Doraemon..

You can see the Smiling Salesman plush doll over FAF's shoulder at the right of the photo.

Write up on Fujiko F Fujio's Esper Mami here.

Write up on Fujiko A Fujio's Black Humor here.


Hideko Mizuno

(1939-) The only successful female manga artist from Tokiwa, where she worked as one of Tezuka's assistants.  Her debut work was "Akakke Pony" (1956) and she hit the big time with "White Troika" (1964, Margaret magazine).  The Japanese wiki entry lists 8 of her works, including "Fire", "Hoshi no Tategoto" and "Buroodouei no Hoshi" (Star of Broadway).  While there were a number of popular female manga artists before her (such as Machiko Hasegawa, whose "Sazae-san" started running in 1946), successful male artists far outnumbered women in the field at the time, making Hideko's accomplishments that much more outstanding.

She has her own website, with photos from live events, examples of her artwork (some of which is for sale), and a description of her time at Tokiwa (currently in Japanese only, but there's a great sketch of the Tokiwa staff on her main page.)

Write-up on Konnichiwa Sensei here.


Shinichi Suzuki

(1933-) One of the co-founders of Studio Zero, very little is given on him in English.  AnimeNfo lists him as a designer on "Medaka no Gakko" and the mechanical designer on "Trinity Blood".  He is currently the director of the Suginami Animation Museum, a few miles west of Shinjuku station in Tokyo and was one of the judges for the TAF Awards of Merit.  The Japanese wiki lists a wide variety of credits for him, both as an animator at Atogi Pro and Studio Zero, and for his independent works including "Ten" (Point), "Hyoutan", "Baberu" (Bubble) and "Gyagumenso" (Gag Features).


Naoya Moriyasu

 (1934-1999) Again, another manga artist that has very little information on him in English.  The Japanese wiki entry lists over 30 "principal" works, including "Rantan Matsuri", "Akai Jitensha" (Red Bicycle), "Suzuran no Hanasakeba" (Blooms of the Lily of the Valley), "Kamera no Onechan" (Camera's Older Sister) and "Mizuiro no Booto to Tomoni" (Sharing the Light Blue Boat).


Tokuo Yokota

(1936-) You'd think that given the visibility Tezuka brought to Tokiwa that the people assisting there would be documented better.  But no.  That's why I have to create listings like this.  Tokuo is credited with "Margaret-chan" (1963-1970-something, Margaret magazine), and as co-writing on "Hougen" with Harumi Mitsui.  The Japanese wiki lists over 20 manga titles for him, including "Margaret-chan", "Tamaoki-kun", "Hajime Hajime no Sono Hajime" (Before the Beginning) and a series of books on various famous historical figures.


Yoshiharu Tsuge

(1937-) The Japanese wiki entry lists Tsuge as one of the residents at Tokiwa, but he's not included in the "Heroes of Tokiwa-Sou" souvenir book.  If he did live there, he wasn't one of Tezuka's assistants and he wasn't considered to be a frequent visitor.  However, the English wiki does mention Tezuka's influence on him, and he probably did visit Tokiwa Manor at some point.  He debuted in Thrilling Book in 1954 at age 17, with a collection of yonkoma strips.  He pretty quickly switched to detective and adventure stories within the next 2 years, appearing in Manga-Oh and Boken-Oh magazines, as well and staying with Thrilling Book.. A multi-volume anthology of his earliest works was released in 2008.

According to the English wiki, Tsuge was a troubled artist.  He attempted suicide once in the early 1960's, and a second bout with depression caused him to stop drawing his own manga.  He eventually apprenticed with Shigeru Mizuki (author of "Gegege no Kitaro") and later returned to doing his own works.  His titles later include "Akai Hana" (Red Flower), "Gensenkan Shujin" (Master of the Gensen-Kan Inn) and the horror story "Neji Shiki" (Screw Style). The Japanese wiki lists 40 works for him.  A number of his works have been adapted to movies, including "Gensenkan Shujin" and "Neji Shiki".

Write up on Early Works Anthology, vol. 1 here.


Jyouji Yamanaka (1940-) The Japanese wiki entry lists Jyouji as one of the residents at Tokiwa, but he's not included in the "Heroes of Tokiwa-Sou" souvenir book.  If he did live there, he wasn't one of Tezuka's assistants and he wasn't considered to be a frequent visitor.

Interestingly, Jyouji doesn't have an entry in the Japanese wiki, and of course he doesn't show up in the English version either.  Fortunately, he is visible, in that he's illustrated some puzzle books and some children's books as can be seen at his website, Animal24.


Frequent Visitors to Tokiwa Sou include:


Saburou Sakamoto (1935-1996) Saburo was a friend of the Fujio Fujiko duo, and Hirou Terada, and he often visited Tokiwa.  His credits in the Japanese wiki primarily list him as an assistant, or production manager, on such anime and manga works as "Densetsu Kyojin Idion" (AKA: Space Runaway Ideon", "Seisenshi Dunbine" (AKA: Aura Battler Dunbine), "Cyborg 009" and others.  However, he's not included in the "Heroes of Tokiwa-Sou" book.


Hideo Shinoda (1939-) According to the Japanese wiki entry, Hideo lived next to one of Tezuka's assistants when he was 19, and he started visiting Fujio Fujiko when he debuted as a shojo manga artist at age 20. He had a permanent table at Fujiko Studios, and he assisted on such works as "Kaibutsu-kun" (Monster), "Smiling Salesman" and "Doraemon". He also taught as a professor at a women's college, and had given a seminar on drawing manga at the Suginami Animation Museum as recently as 2007.  However, he's not included in the "Heroes of Tokiwa-Sou" book.


Shunji Sonoyama

(1935-1993) Shunji is one of the first people in this list to stand out on his own as a creator.  Granted, his art style is incredibly crude and his works aren't well-known outside of Japan, but his "Hajime Ningen Gon" (First Human Gon) shows up occasionally in reruns on TV in Tokyo. has a brief comment on "Gon".  Otherwise, the primary information source is Japanese wiki, which lists "Gambare Gonbe" (Good Luck, Gonbe) and "Gyaatoruzu" (Gators) as some of his other works.


Jirou Tsunoda

(1936-) Finally, we have someone that stands out a bit.  Jirou is listed in IMDB as a writer and actor, creating "Yogen", "Bourei Gakkyu" and "Pyun Pyun Mau"; and voice acting in "Bourei Gakkyu" and "Mirai no Omoide: Last Christmas" (Future Memories: Last Christmas). The Japanese wiki lists another 20+ works.  Again, he was friends with Fujiko Fujio.  3 years after he debut, he reportedly witnessed a UFO, which caused him to study the unexplained and he became one of Japan's biggest paranormal researchers. The movie "Yogen" (AKA: "Premonition" in the U.S.) was based on his manga "Kyoufu Shimbun" (Newspaper of Terror).

Write-up on Kyofu Shimbun here.


Takemaru Nagata

(1935-) There's not much information on Takemaru in the Japanese wiki, much less in English.  His first major work was "Bikkuri-kun", and he's also credited with "Otto! Yome-chan" and "Oniichan" (Older Brother).  However, his primary work seems to have been as a chief assistant to Fujio Fujiko, starting in 1970.


Kunio Nagatani

(1937-) Kunio entered Studio Zero, and worked as a chief assistant on "Obake Q-tarou", then went on to Fujiko Studios.  He worked with Go Nagai on the manga "Kamasutra" (which is widely recognized as a hentai anime) and he (along with many other artists) made a cameo appeared in Go Nagi's "The Ninja Dragon" live action movie. The Japanese wiki lists his credits as including "Tokaido War", "Einstein, the man who could see to the limits of space" and "Nostradamus, Starting the Countdown to Destruction".  In addition, while working at Fujio Akatsuka's Fujio Pro studios, he produced several parody manga strips, including "Aho-Shiki" (Stupid-Style).

Write up on Aho-shiki here.


Akira Maruyama

(1930-) While not listed in the Japanese wiki as one of the frequent artist guests at Tokiwa Manor, Akira is included in the "Heroes of Tokiwa-Sou" book as a welcomed visitor.  He was one of the editors at Kodansha publishing, and had served as a Board Member according to his entry in the Japanese wiki.  He'd joined Kodansha in 1953, and entered the editorial department for Shojo Club in 1954 where he edited Tezuka's "Ribon Knight".  In 1955, he went to visit Tezuka and the people still living in Tokiwa, where he met Ishinomori, Akatsuka and the rest.  He then went on to edit their works as well.  In 1958, he moved to the editorial department for Bokura.  He became editor-in-chief of Shojo Club in 1959, co-founded Kodansha's "Famous Schools" in 1967, and when Tezuka arranged the Tokiwa Manor reunion party in 1981, Akira was the only non-artist invited.  He retired from Kodansha in 1998. (All information comes from the Japanese wiki entry.)


Takao Yokoyama

(1937-) Takao is the second person to be mentioned in the "Heroes of Tokiwa-Sou" book who doesn't appear in the Japanese wiki entry on Tokiwa.  However, there's no entry for him in wikipedia, either, so what little I have is coming from the book itself, and from an entry in Kinokuniya's Book Web page, where he has a few credits for working on books of Ainu history.  He had worked as an assistant for Akatsuka Fujio, and he did have some of his own manga published.



Additional Cool Stuff:

Studio Zero   A production studio co-founded by Shoutaro Ishinomori, Fujio Fujiko, Jiro Tsunoda and Shinichi Suzuki. It produced titles like "Tetsuwan Atomu", "Obake Q-taro", "Doraemon" and "Tensai Bakabon".  Nothing's available in English here.  Most of the information is in the Japanese wiki entry.


Toshima City Library, located in the Rise Arena building in Ikebukuro, has several hundred volumes of manga from the Tokiwa gang available in their "Tokiwa Corner" on the 5th floor.  The bulk of the manga comes from Ishimori and Fujio Fujiko, but there's a lot also from Akatsuka Fujio and Tezuka, and some books of commentary by various scholars and random writers. . Take the elevator from the main lobby to the fifth floor, then follow the hallway to the end.  The 3-foot tall shelves on the left, and at the wall opposite the door comprise "Tokiwa Corner".  Since it's a library, you can find a chair and look at everything you like for free, but it is all going to be in Japanese. 

     TEL 03-3983-786


In 1969, Tezuka ran a series in Weekly Shonen Champion magazine called "The Crater".  In one of the episodes for this series, 3 aliens scout Earth in preparation for an upcoming invasion.  They send back what they think is vital information, which turns out to be a list of artists on contract with Champion at the time.  Several of them came from Tokiwa.

(From "The Three Invaders", copyright, Tezuka Productions.)


In October, 2009, the ward of Toshima decided to commemorate Tokiwa manor by erecting a monument to it, accompanied by an exhibit on the Tokiwa artists held at the nearby Worker's Welfare Hall just west of Ikebukuro station.  The memorial is located about 1 kilometer from Shiinamachi station off the Seibu Ikebukuro line, just inside a small park near Mejiro street (Mejiro Dori). 



Comi Press interview with Fujio A Fujiko.

TAF Awards of Merit List.

Japanese Tokiwa Sou wiki entry

Interview with Takashi Miike, commenting on Yoshiharu Tsuge

"Heroes of Tokiwa-Sou" exhibit souvenir book (2009).


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All text copyright Curtis Hoffmann, (2009) ThreeStepsOverJapan. Do not reproduce or distribute without permission of the author. All rights to the images belong to their respective owners and are used here for educational purposes only.