Thursday, December 22, 2016

Manga paradise

Three weeks ago, while watching the TV show Tokyo Eye on NHK World, I've discovered two manga libraries in Tokyo that I would certainly like to visit one day.

The Tokyo Eye episode that aired November 30th was titled “Tokyo Book Tour.” Its introduction tells us: “In this digital age, people are rediscovering the joy of visiting a physical bookstore. Tokyo might have more bookstores than any city in the world, and this time we look at some of the best ones.” As a travel show dedicated to the Tokyo area (where foreigners discuss sites and attractions they like in the city), this time it introduces us with a dozen notable libraries. Two of them really caught my eyes.

The Tachikawa Manga Park (立川まんがぱーく, located at 3-2-26 Nishiki-cho, Tachikawa-shi, Tokyo; website: offers 400,000 manga, mostly new and popular titles, to read. The “space is designed to recall an old Japanese home“ and “visitors are free to kick back and simply enjoy reading manga”. You can sit on chairs or benches, lie down on cushions or tatami mats or even hide in a recreated oshiire closet! A dream library for children and teenagers.

The Shojo Manga-kan (少女まんが館, located at 155-5 Ajiro, Akiruno-shi) is a private library entirely dedicated to shojo manga. It offers over 55,000 shojo books and magazines (even some dating back to the meiji-era!). The library is located in the private home of a couple, Jun Nakano and Natsuyo Oi, who are long-time fans and collectors of shojo manga. Since it's private, it is only opened on Saturday and you must first book online. It's a real paradise if you want to study the history of shojo manga.

Also interesting, the latest episode of Tokyo Eye (it aired on December 21st), titled “Tokyo Mottainai!”, is dedicated to unusual recycling ideas which offers a “stylish new twist on a traditional Japanese value.” I particularly like the idea of the restaurant that buys "imperfect" seafood that has gone unsold at the Tsukiji fish market and turns it into delicious cuisine. And the one about the “Mottainai Kids Flea Market” where kids can learn economic skills while recycling their old toys and stuff.

Both shows are still available to watch online (and will stay available for a few weeks).

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