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Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Doraemon museum door to nostalgia
Since opening last September, the Doraemon museum in Kawasaki has attracted an endless stream of visitors — not just children, but also adults who grew up with the animated TV show and movies featuring the cartoon character, which was created more than 40 years ago.
"We hope that adults who come here remember the days when they got into manga and feel young and invigorated again," said Zensho Ito, director of the complex, officially known as the Fujiko F Fujio Museum.
Visitors include children, parents and other adults, Ito said, adding that the museum also gets many people from overseas.
Doraemon, created by Fujiko, is one of the country's most popular cartoon characters. He first appeared in a 1969 manga and was later the star of a variety of animated TV programs and movies — a number of which were shown overseas, particularly in Asia and Europe.
The museum, built in memory of the late cartoonist, helps people understand how Fujiko came to create the earless robotic cat, which travels from the 22nd century to the present day to help a schoolboy named Nobita. It also shows the artistic troubles he encountered in his long career.
Fujiko, whose real name is Hiroshi Fujimoto, was born in 1933 and lived in Tama Ward from 1961 to 1996, when he died at age 62.
At the three-story museum, visitors can find Fujiko's original drawings and an extensive collection of his other manga, "Obake no Q-taro" and "Perman."
A reproduction of Fujiko's studio is also present with the same pens and ink he actually used to draw the cartoons.
Ito, 63, a Tokyo native, has been a fan of manga — Fujiko's works in particular — since childhood. After graduating from college, he joined Shogakukan Production Co., a maker of animated movies that was the predecessor of Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions Co.
It was there Ito met Fujiko, where the two worked together.
Ito said Fujiko lived in Kawasaki for many years and that is why the museum was built in the city in collaboration with his wife, Masako Fujimoto, as well as Fujiko Pro Co., a manga production company he founded, and the local government.
"We wanted many people to know more about him," said Ito, who is also president of Fujiko Pro.
"I saw him reading a lot of novels and science magazines and he knew many things," Ito said. "We tried to coordinate the museum so that visitors can understand what the cartoonist was thinking."