EXPLORING THE HISTORY OF MANGA
Kyoto Museum Shares Comic Culture with the World
(January 22, 2007)
A 200,000-Piece Treasure Trove
To fill this need, the Kyoto International Manga Museum was founded jointly by the City of Kyoto and Kyoto Seika University, the only university in Japan that has a Faculty of Manga.
The museum currently houses some 200,000 manga-related items. The collection encompasses historically valuable pieces, such as the first Japanese manga magazines published in the early Meiji era (1868–1912), as well as currently popular works from Japan and other countries. By 2008, the museum expects to have over 300,000 pieces in its collection.
The Kyoto International Manga Museum functions as both a museum that carries out and publishes research and as a library where visitors have free access to more than 40,000 volumes at any given time. The corridors of the museum's three floors feature a "Manga Wall" with a total of 140 meters of shelf space.
A Venue for Manga Events
When the subject of manga or anime comes up, Tokyo might be the first place that comes to mind. After all, Akihabara, that epicenter of otaku culture, is located in Tokyo, as are a slew of publishing houses and production companies dedicated to manga and anime. And of course many manga and anime artists make their home in Japan's modern capital.
However, Japan's ancient capital of Kyoto, renowned worldwide for its historic and cultural attractions, is also a manga center in its own right. The picture scrolls known as choju jinbutsu giga (literally "cartoons of bird and beast characters") originated here in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
Furthermore, Kyoto Seika University is a pioneer of manga research, having been engaged in this field for over 30 years. It is therefore fitting that Kyoto has been chosen as the host city for the International Manga Summit in 2008.
"Manga have played a significant role in Japanese culture," says the museum's director, Yoro Takeshi, on the facility's website. "Elements of expression in Japanese manga, which have become increasingly popular around the world, are already found in picture scrolls produced in the Heian period (794–1192). I think it is extremely significant that the Manga Museum will be established in Kyoto, where traditional culture still thrives."
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