A Virtual Journey through Japan
Animated Characters on the Streets of Japan
Across the country, manga, anime, and movie characters have leapt off the page and onto the street as symbols of the local communities that love them.
Ultraman, who came from the distant M78 nebula to keep peace in the universe, is still on duty in Sukagawa, Fukushima Prefecture. The birthplace of the hero's creator, Tsuburaya Eiji, is also home to the Eiji Tsuburaya Museum, which presents the director's achievements and appeal.
Godzilla, an enormous monster that emerges from the sea to destroy cities, can be seen in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Godzilla’s head appears among a group of buildings, a powerful image of a mon-ster seemingly still bent on destruction today.
Mobile Suit Gundam
(Kido Senshi Gandamu)
Mobile Suit Gundam is the story of Amuro, a young man with a mobile suit called Gundam, and his companions who grow through battles with their nemesis, Char. Visitors to Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture can, for a limited time, catch sight of a standing life-sized Gundam that moves. Scheduled for public viewing until March 31, 2024.
This Fujiko F. Fujio masterpiece depicts the daily life of a cat-shaped robot from the 22nd century, Doraemon, and an elementary school boy named Nobita. The vacant lot from the series has been recreated in Fujiko’s hometown of Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture.
From video games to anime to trading cards, the unique and familiar characters from the ever-popular Pokémon series now appear on manhole covers across Japan. There is Greninja in Koka City, Shiga Prefecture, as well as Pikachu in Yokohama City, and many other Pokémon characters in cities throughout the country.
Case Closed (Meitantei Conan)
Case Closed is a manga featuring a high school detective who was given a mysterious drug that transforms him into a boy. The author Aoyama Gosho is from Hokuei, a town in Tottori Prefecture, where a statue of the protagonist Conan stands along with a dedicated museum.
Luffy, the ONE PIECE protagonist who strikes out on adventures with dreams of becoming the Pirate King, cheers for Kumamoto, the city hit by a massive earthquake in 2016. As part of the ONE PIECE Kumamoto Revival Project, statues of many different characters appear throughout Kumamoto Prefecture, including this one of Luffy in Kumamoto City.
Galaxy Express 999 (Ginga Tetsudo 999)
The sci-fi manga Galaxy Express 999 tells the story of two protagonists, a boy named Hoshino Tetsuro (right) and a mysterious lady Maetel (left), who travel through space in search of a mechanized body for the boy. Statues of the two stand outside of Kokura Station in Fukuoka Prefecture’s Kitakyushu, the birthplace of the author, Matsumoto Leiji.