“Witch trial” - another rare-to-find episode of Black Jack. It was written in 1976 and it explores the same themes as “MW” - a thriller known to every Osamu Tezuka’s fan.
The child depicted above is a victim of Agent Orange. He was born with one eye and three fingers on each hand. His mother had been poisoned during pregnancy beacuse of the leak in the nearby chemical plant in Milan, Italy.
Her husband, Italian Catholic, left her alone. She was forced to hide herself because of the persecutions from the Catholics. Not only because her son looked like “devil”, but she was Zoroastrian on top of that - follower of the very ancient religion.
Extremely stereotypical depiction of foreign cultures (here: Catholic) and mistreatment of persons with disabilities are topics which for 100% will cause discomfort in every Japanese editor. Even though it’s obvious that it was the stereotype which was attacked by Tezuka, not the Catholic society, the episode was omitted in the colective edition of “Black Jack”.
The catholicism and chemical weapons are themes which are explored much deeper in “MW”.
As for Zoroastrianism, it seems that Tezuka had some interest in this religion. The symbol of the Winged Sun (also called Faravahar) appears in the temple of the Church of Light in the story “Sun” - 11th volume of “Phoenix”. I will upload this panel in the future.
PS: In this story Black Jacks performs an operation completely free of charge… Maybe this “inconsistency” was the reason this episode was thrown out? :D