2022 NO.33


A Virtual Journey through JapanA 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.

1 Fukushima 2 Tokyo 3 Tokyo 4 Kanagawa 5 Toyama 6 Shiga 7 Tottori 8 Kumamoto 9 Fukuoka


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.


Captain Tsubasa

This manga series follows the soccer-loving Ozora Tsubasa and his adventures on the world stage with the talented soccer goalie Wakabayashi Genzo. A statue of Tsubasa stands in Tokyo’s Katsushika, the hometown of the author Takahashi Yoichi.

©Yoichi Takahashi/SHUEISHA


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.

©Fujiko F. Fujio Production


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.

©Pokémon.©Nintendo/creatures Inc. /GAME FREAK inc.
©2022 Pokémon. ©1995-2022 Nintendo/Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK inc.
Pocket Monsters, Pokemon, and Pokémon are all registered trademarks of Nintendo and Creatures Game Freak.

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.

©Aoyama Gosho/SHOGAKUKAN Inc.


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.

©Oda Eiichiro/Shueisha Inc.

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.

©Matsumoto Leiji/Leiji-sha