The birthplace of a famous manga artist becomes a popular tourist destination
Gegege no Kitaro relates tales of the ghost boy Kitaro and his interactions with Yokai. It is popular for characterizing Yokai, who are well-known to children, as friendly comrades of Kitaro's. It is also popular for its moral messages, in which good is rewarded and evil punished, as Kitaro and his loyal Yokai companions battle and overcome wicked Yokai. (Photo: bronze statue of Kitaro).
A Japanese seaport town has come into the spotlight recently. It's Sakaiminato City, in Tottori Prefecture, where the famous manga artist Shigeru Mizuki, creator of the legendary manga series Gegege no Kitaro, grew up. It has become a popular tourist destination whose attractions are centered around the theme of Yokai, a species of demon or monster from Japanese folklore. Long fascinated by Yokai tales that have been told and retold through the ages, inspiring awe throughout Japan, Shigeru Mizuki decided early on to employ Yokai in his works.
Among those works, Gegege no Kitaro is one that today it would be next to impossible to find any Japanese who doesn't know. The series has an enormous fan following spanning generations. Fans include not only manga readers but also viewers of the various hit TV animation series spawned by the manga, and the live-action films released in 2007 and 2008. And now visitors to Sakaiminato City can immerse themselves fully in Mizuki's world of Yokai, including Gegege no Kitaro.