Arts & Entertainment

Iconic Tokiwa-so building, home to Manga pioneers, opens as museum

Tokyo, Jul 13 (efe-epa).- Almost four decades after being demolished the Tokiwa-so apartment bloc where modern manga pioneers like Osamu Tezuka spent their youth has been rebuilt as a museum.

The reconstruction of the famous two-story wooden building has been managed by the authorities of the Toshima district in Tokyo, a stone’s throw away from its original location in a quiet residential area.

“At first Osamu Tezuka began living here after his publisher found a place for him in the residence. Later other authors arrived, attracted by Tezuka or through the publisher. His assistants also lived here on occasions,” Kanako Kitayama, member of the foundation that manages the museum, tells Efe.

The building was an ordinary residence when it was built in 1952.

A year later the creator of Astro Boy became a tenant and was followed by Hiroo Terada and a generation of artists who would be known as the pioneers of modern manga.

Among them was Shotaro Ishinomori, author of Cyborg 009 and Kamen Rider and Fujiko Fujio creators of Doraemon.

The authors lived together and helped each other through a friendly rivalry, asking for advice and opinion, Kitayama explains.

Although recently rebuilt, the Tokiwa-so Manga Museum still preserves the weathered look of the dilapidated building’s façade with a rusty metal canopy and railing.

Even though the original apartment block was torn down in 1982, the attention to detail of architects and restorers is exquisite even emulating the mold on the walls and creaking wooden stairs.

The first floor consists of a library with works by the authors who passed through the residence and which punters can freely flick through.

An exhibition room where different shows are planned currently presents a mosaic of drawings welcoming visitors to the newly opened museum which launched on 7 July.

On the second floor, a permanent exhibition tells the story of the Shiinamachi neighborhood where the original residence was located.

Also on this floor are several faithful reproductions of rooms legendary authors occupied, such as Hideko Mizuno, who was also Tezuka’s assistant, or Johji Yamauchi, using accounts and descriptions of the artists.

The facilities also recreate common areas such as the bathroom and kitchen and offer manga and video drawing workshops as well as interviews with the masters of the comics industry.

The museum was due to open on 22 March but delayed its launch until July due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Entrance to the museum is free, although it is currently necessary to reserve to attend, as part of the measures adopted in the fight against the spread of the virus. EFE-EPA


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