A Japanese Blake: Embodied Visions in William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790) and Tezuka Osamu’s Phoenix (1967–88)

  • Rosalind Atkinson
Part of the Asia-Pacific and Literature in English book series (APLE)


This chapter brings Blake’s illuminated poems “Visions of the Daughters of Albion” and “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” into conversation with twentieth-century manga artist Tezuka Osamu’s (1928–1989) epic Phoenix: A Tale of the Future (1968). Tezuka and Blake are seen to be connected by Tezuka’s use of European Romanticism and Buddhist philosophy to contest aspects of modernity in Japan. The Blake that emerges from the conversation with Tezuka differs notably from Blake, the canonical Romantic author. Blake and Tezuka appear united in their drive to “invent a system”: to create complete mythologies that entwine text and image, eliding traditional Western distinctions between abstract word and concrete sensation. In this sense both artists create embodied narratives, ones which reposition stories in shape, line, and formal bodies.


William Blake Bernard Leach Tezuka Osamu Manga Japan Romanticism Translation Materialism Mythology Yanagi Muneyoshi 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosalind Atkinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Humanities and Social SciencesVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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