The Osamu Tezuka Story translator and close friend and interpreter of Osamu Tezuka has lent some insight into the Lion King controversy that has recently been reignited with the release of the new Lion King movie. The Hollywood Reporter and The Washington Post both report.
“Schodt says the notion that no one who worked on Lion King had even heard of Tezuka is "absolutely unthinkable — anybody who knows anything about animation knew that that was just preposterous." He insists that, in the early stages of production, Disney's animators would have been actively seeking out reference material. "The first thing they'd do is go out and try and look at every work that's been done using lions. You have to learn to draw these animals!" he says. "And the other thing is that all the Disney animators at that point in time, they were of the age that they would have seen it on television or seen references to it. So the idea that nobody knew it's just crazy!"
“Frederik Schodt, an American interpreter and translator for Japanese media, would often accompany Tezuka on his trips to the United States, including to Disney World in Florida, the Disney animation studios in Burbank, Calif., a San Diego Comic Convention and talks at various universities. Tezuka met Walt Disney at the New York World’s Fair in 1964, and often repeated the story of Disney telling him that he knew much about Tezuka’s work and “hoped to make something like” “Astro Boy” one day, according to Schodt’s 1996 book, “Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga.”
Check out Frederik L. Schodt's books here: https://www.stonebridge.com/authors-archive/frederik-l-schodt