Have a Manga-Filled Experience at the International Manga Museum!

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  • Many people know about Japan through its creation of manga and the enormous industry that has developed over the 20th century. The manga industry includes a large number of magazines, websites, and even original fan-made manga distributed at events like Comic Market. The International Manga Museum was dedicated in order to preserve the vast history of manga and exhibit “manga culture” to Japan and the world. This ideal is demonstrated by the large sculpture of Osama Tezuka’s Phoenix in the main foyer. One of the main innovators in the Japanese manga and anime industries during the mid-20th century, Osama Tezuka died at the age of 60, leaving the series Phoenix unfinished. The symbolism of the Phoenix’s presence at the museum is both representative of the Japanese creative spirit, and the idea that creating art is an ongoing, neverending process. These ideals are embodied by the museum’s collection, which is continually updated and now holds over 300,000 volumes. The museum building is a renovation of the Tatsuike Primary School, originally constructed 1869 and converted to the manga museum in 2006. In occupying the space of the primary school, the museum’s intent is to carry on the will of the people that education is a powerful tool. We visited the International Manga Museum and found some of the most interesting features visitors can look forward to when they visit this place.

    Book Collection


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    The most noticeable thing about the Manga Museum is of course its manga selection. The Manga Museum has many rooms filled with shelves of manga available for visitors to enjoy reading. These spaces not only show visitors how expansive the Manga Museum is, but also how large manga is as a creative industry, with many works available over decades of publications. Of course, the large majority of these titles are in Japanese, so if you can’t read Japanese very well you likely won’t get much out of these spaces. But it’s still nice to appreciate the large collection available to the public.

    Reading Yard


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    If reading inside isn’t enough for you, you can take your manga outside and read on the large reading ground outside. This outdoor field is turfed, so it’s comfortable to sit or lay down and read year-round. If the weather is good, the prospect of reading manga outdoors sounds even better. The reading yard is one of the key features offered by the museum, that visitors are offered a space to relax quietly and enjoy

    International Comics

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    It’s not just Japanese manga you can find at the Manga Museum, there’s comics from around the world which have been brought to Japan for readers to enjoy. One popular section includes American comics or “AmeComi”, which features popular characters such as Superman translated in Japanese. International visitors can also find manga selections in various languages available for reading purchasing.

    Manga Exhibitions


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    The Manga Museum hosts a number of exhibits throughout the year, each focusing on the works of different manga authors. One advantage of going to these exhibits is that visitors get to experience the work of manga authors up close and in new ways. Manga in Japan is typically serialized in disposable magazines or published in tankouban (italicize) volumes, which create the impression of distance and disconnection between the reader and the drawings. Exhibits like these, which may enlarge specific drawings or showcase production documents from the author, help allow visitors connect closer to the medium in various ways.

    Live Drawing Events


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    In addition to reading manga, the Manga Museum also promotes the drawing of manga as well by hosting various live-drawing sessions. These may cover a variety of drawing practices, from lessons from artists on how to draw, to live-drawing sessions where the participants try to create a drawing based on the subject. These drawing events are often free to the public, so this can serve as an interesting and engaging way to learn more about the steps and learning experience behind creating manga.

    Are you a fan of manga, or do you prefer to experience Japanese culture through other means? At the Manga Museum, even if you aren’t interested in manga, you can still appreciate the influence it’s had on Japanese culture by appreciating the sheer size of the museum’s collection or admiring the exhibits and how authors apply the creative process to their work. At the Kyoto International Manga Museum, visitors all leave becoming a part of manga culture.

    You can learn more about the International Manga Museum at their website.

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