In the 1960s, the government of Japan met with protests from a new generation of activists who raised issues about pollution and its effect on human health. The impetus if the protest movements was directed at Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda, who prioritized economic growth through industrialization projects that made the country’s environmental problems much worse. Considered as a turning point in the country’s environmental policies, the National Diet session of 1970 able to establish 14 laws in only one session. Called “the Pollution Diet”, the laws made Japan a frontrunner and strongest advocate of environmental protection, on a global scale.

A lot of environmental regulations were passed and enforced during the 1970s with the help grassroots activism that represented those who were negatively affected. Upon reaching the 90s, the country’s affected areas started to recover and there was a notable decrease in the pollution levels. With definite evidence on how humans grievously affect the environment, it is no surprise that environmental themes trended in animes. One of the most popular is manga that later took form as a Japanese anime presentation os “Black Jack.”

Japan’s History with Pollution

To fully understand how Black Jack’s mission is one that identifies with 60s environmentalists, it would help to know the history of pollution in Japan. The first pollution in the country started around the 20th year of the Meiji Period in relation to the operation of the Ashio Copper Mine. Ever since the second World War ended, the country’s political leaders focused firmly on the enhancement of industrial infrastructure. Japan actually evolved into becoming a industrialization-heavy by the 25th year of Showa period.

However, the amount of pollutants was exceptionally huge. Factories were constructed along waterfront areas in order to increase the production efficiency of workers. Yet it also resulted to generated a concentration of pollutants that produced pollution-related disease, such as the Minamata disease, and the Yokkaichi asthma.

The medical conditions and the help being provided by the new breed of Japanese medical professionals had apparently inspired manga writer Osamu Tezuka to create his famous Black Jack character.

Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack

Originally published by Osamu Tezuka as a manga in 1973, the story revolves around Kuro Hazama, an unlicensed but extremely adept surgeon.

Before he became a surgeon, Hazama and his mother was caught up in an explosion in which his mother died and while he became gravely injured. After being saved by a surgeon named Dr. Homa, Hazama pursued his goal of becoming a surgeon himself while using the alias “Black Jack.” While his main goal is to provide people with another chance at living similar to the one Dr. Homa gave him. However, there are instances when Black Jack tested his patients, to find out if they genuinely value their lives he charged them for extreme amounts of cash.

Blackjack uses the money to provide pro-bono surgeries to those who cannot afford to pay, while he also donated to charities. His greater mission is where the environmental part came in. He bought island properties to save the inhabitants from harmful commercial developments.

The crusading surgeon also accepts payment for his medical services, by making his rich patients pay for the protection of the country’s natural resources. Published in the 70s, Black Jack the comic book had somehow helped raise the public was aware of the detrimental effects of capitalism in the environment.

Black Jack is only one of numerous environment-themed manga stories that have taken form as anime series. Apparently, Japanese anime films have garnered fans from nearly all parts of the globe as they can now be viewed via streaming channels.

It’s important however, to have a good Internet connection and any of the best anime apps in order to have the best anime viewing. Checkout the latest Newtokinews news article, as it provides a list of the best anime iOS or Android app to use when streaming by way of smartphones.