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2021.02 Tokiwaso Manga Museum: Bringing the “Tokiwaso” World of Legendary Manga Artists into the Present [PR]

Explore a new addition to manga-mecca Toshima City 

 

Just about everyone has seen Japanese manga and anime at least once in their life. Some may also have heard of Tokiwaso, an apartment building shared by Mighty Atom (Astro Boy) creator Osamu Tezuka and many other budding young manga artists in the 1950s and 60s. In July 2020, Tokiwaso Manga Museum opened in Tokyo, in Minami-Nagasaki, near Ikebukuro. The museum recreates the original apartment building and introduces the lives of the manga artists that lived there. 

Minami-Nagasaki is not far from the bustling Ikebukuro area, one of Tokyo’s leading urban centers, comparable to Shinjuku or Shibuya. Over the years, Ikebukuro and the wider Toshima City area has developed a thriving anime and subculture scene and become a popular stage for cosplay events and similar gatherings. Minami-Nagasaki is a neighborhood within this manga mecca.

 


 

Greeted by characters from Jungle Emperor Leo : From Higashi-Nagasaki Station to Tokiwaso

 

A ride of about five minutes on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line from Ikebukuro Station will take you to Higashi-Nagasaki Station. Getting off here, visitors will encounter a monument to legendary manga artist Osamu Tezuka’s Jungle Emperor Leo (also known as Kimba the White Lion).

 

Leo and Lyre from Osamu Tezuka’s Jungle Emperor Leo © Tezuka Productions

 

Minami-Nagasaki is a fun area to stroll around, with many spots related to Tokiwaso and its residents and their manga works. Visitors can imagine what Minami-Nagasaki would have been like when the young Tokiwaso manga artists lived here.

 

 

Various shops and businesses line the shopping street leading away from the station. The Tokiwaso manga artists may have walked this very same street.

 

A step back in time to the Tokiwaso of the 1950s: Highlights of the Manga Museum

 

The Tokiwaso Manga Museum is a ten-minute walk from the station. The building has a 1950s retro look, identical in style to the original Tokiwaso apartment building.

 

 

The original Tokiwaso fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1982. However, local residents championed a project to recreate the iconic building. The result is this museum, a cultural center that preserves Japan’s traditional manga heritage for future generations.

 

 

The museum takes all possible measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (including taking temperatures, requiring staff members to wear masks, and making hand sanitizers available).

 

The Tokiwaso apartment building was the home of a number of budding manga artists who later attained legendary status. They include Osamu Tezuka (1928–1989), Fujiko Fujio A. (1934–), Fujiko F. Fujio (1933–1996), and Shotaro Ishinomori (1938–1998). The museum’s second floor faithfully reproduces in detail Tokiwaso’s ambience in the 1960s, when most of the artists lived there. Walking up to the second floor is like stepping back in time.

 

The building was recreated based on photographs and other materials as well as interviews with the artists who once lived there. Visitors will notice small details like the creaking stairs as they climb to the second floor and the deliberate dirt-effect on the windowpanes.

 

 

Hear the stairs creak as you climb them.

 

 

The living spaces recreated on the second floor have a feeling of authenticity about them. With India ink cans and pens for drawing manga, bowls of half-eaten ramen, and other familiar items scattered about, it’s as if the artists still lived there. Some rooms even had two people sharing the same cramped space. The scenery outside the windows is reproduced with illustrations.

 

 

Drawing tools are displayed here and there throughout the rooms.

 

 

In one of the rooms, you can try your hand at drawing manga.* Put on a beret, pick up a pen, and imagine yourself as a manga artist.

 

 

*This program is temporarily unavailable as of January 2021.

 

The first floor features an exhibition room and manga lounge. They provide a setting for enjoying manga, books, and special exhibits associated with Tokiwaso.

 

Nearby places worth visiting on a trip to the Manga Museum

 

After visiting the Manga Museum, visitors can stop by related spots in the neighborhood.

 

Tokiwaso Manga Station

 

The Tokiwaso Manga Station is a five-minute walk from the Manga Museum. It contains works published by the manga artists that lived at Tokiwaso and a collection of related books and other rare materials. Visitors can pick up and read the books, including reprints of Manga Shonen, a children’s manga magazine that was popular during the Tokiwaso days.
*The building is ventilated for ten minutes each hour as a COVID-19 countermeasure (as of January 2021). 

 

 

Immerse yourself in the world of manga. There are around 6000 books and other materials in the Tokiwaso Manga Station collection.

 

Tokiwaso-dori Oyasumidokoro

 

This building was originally a rice shop, built in 1926. Stop by to see Tokiwaso memorabilia including items autographed by the artists. Exclusive Tokiwaso souvenirs are also available here.

 

 

Have a rest in the tatami space on the second floor.

 

Chinese restaurant Matsuba 

 

The Tokiwaso artists often had ramen delivered from this Chinese restaurant. With hand-drawn and autographed works adorning the walls, the restaurant is popular with manga fans. Eating a bowl of ramen here, visitors can picture life back in the Tokiwaso days.

 

 

In fact, the half-eaten bowl of ramen in the Tokiwaso Manga Museum is modeled on the ramen from Matsuba.

 

 

 

Minami-Nagasaki, home of the original Tokiwaso, is a fascinating neighborhood shaped by its manga heritage. Whether you are a manga fan, or even if you simply want to experience the retro atmosphere, you should definitely check out Minami-Nagasaki. 

 

Useful information

 

•    Reservations to visit the Tokiwaso Manga Museum can be made in English.
•    Because the museum recreates a Japanese apartment building, you will be asked to remove your shoes before entering. Please be sure to bring a pair of socks with you.

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