Manga drawing

Japan Travelogue: Tokiwaso Manga Museum

Manga comics is an integral part of the Japanese publishing industry. These printed stories have been adapted into anime, novels, films and video games, not just in Japan but all over the world.

Manga (漫画) are original Japanese comic strips or books that have a solid niche of followers from all around the world.  Japanese manga creators conform to a particular style of artwork creation developed in the late 19th century. The Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga (鳥獣人物戯画)or “Animal-person Caricatures”, a famous set of four picture scrolls (emakimono) that date back to the mid-12th century are said to be the oldest work of manga.

Grubby manga artistTokiwa-sō (トキワ荘) was an apartment building in Toshima in Tokyo, popular for being the former living-quarters of many world renowned manga artists. The Tokiwaso apartment building was a simple two-story building made from wood. It was among some of the pre-war buildings that survived the fire bombings of Tokyo during World War II. It soon became an important part of the Minami Nagasaki residential area of Toshima ward. It had no baths and had only cold water sinks and toilets. Residents had to go to local bath houses known as sentō to bathe.

Prominent residents include Osamu Tezuka (creator of Astro Boy, Princess Knight and Kimba the White Lion), considered to be the “father of manga” and is the Japanese equivalent to Walt Disney, Fujiko Fujio (creator of  Doraemon) was a pen name for the duo Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko, and Fujio Akatsuka, a pioneer Japanese artist of comical manga known as the Gag Manga King.

The original Tokiwa-sō building was demolished in 1982 but in July of 2016, the Toshima ward government announced plans to build a replica of Tokiwa-sō in Minami-Nagasaki Hanasaki Koen public park. In July of 2020, the Tokiwa-sō Manga Museum officially opened. The recreation of the place was so meticulously done, it even includes fake mold.

Join Michelle in exploring Tokiwa-sō Manga Museum!