Tetsuya Chiba is a mangaka, or manga artist, who was born in 1939. Chiba’s family migrated to China shortly before World War II ended. At this point, Japanese people were being forced back into Japan out of China, but Chiba’s family, including he and his three younger brothers, hid in an attic for the entire winter. It was at that time that his mother put him in charge of creating stories for his younger brothers. He took it one step further and made illustrations to go along with the stories, which his brothers loved.
In 1956, Chiba created a story known as Fukushuu no Semushiotoko, which was published. Chiba was still in high school. It was not until 1958 that he created his first “professional” manga known as Botoukai no Shoujo.
Ashita no Joe is the first series that Chiba became well known for. It is known more commonly as Tomorrow’s Joe, and is about a boxer. It has become the most acclaimed boxing manga to ever be created. Joe Yabuki is an orphan who winds up becoming one of the best boxers ever to get into the squared circle. In his first match against his biggest rival, Rikiishi, he accidentally kills the boxer. This haunts him, and he isn’t able to focus and box the way he needs to. His trainer, Danpei, discovers what is going on and is able to help Joe conquer his demons in order to box again.
Joe winds up fighting his way to the top. His final match is against Jose Mendoza, the biggest champion boxing has ever seen. The two of them duke it out, Joe giving Jose a taste of his own medicine. Finally the match ends and Joe sits in the corner. It is there that he dies, right before the verdict is read. For Joe, it’s a happy ending, as it’s how he wanted to end his boxing career, and his life.
One of Chiba’s older works is called Yuki no Taiyou. Yuki no Taiyou is about a ten year old girl who, like Joe, has grown up in an orphanage. She is adopted, however, by the Iwabuch’s, a husband and wife who already have one daughter. Their daughter Sanae has heart disease, and in honor of that, Mr. Iwabuchi is planning on building a research center. One evening, when Yuki is bathing, a clergyman discovers that she is wearing a cross that was created by the same man who made the sculpture in their church. The man is named Akarupa.
Yuki discovers that she is really the daughter of Mrs. Iwabuchi and the artist, Akarupa. Akarupa dies in the hospital, and asks Yuki to forgive Mrs. Iwabuchi, who has since left Mr. Iwabuchi. She can not, though, and leaves. Finally, later, Mrs. Iwabuchi seeks Yuki and Sanae out and apologizes, and the girls forgive her. She tells Sanae that he grandfather is a millionaire in the United States, and the girls head there. The girls then head to meet Sanae’s grandfather.