Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Theme Streets and Anime Attractions
There are a number of locations around Japan that are associated with anime or manga in one form or another, and have turned into tourist attractions because of it. The Washinomiya shrine that appears in "Lucky Star", and the police box at Katsushika (from the "Kochira Kameari" manga) being two prime examples. And as Bartman905 pointed out elsewhere, the lifesize Gundam in Odaiba will also become more popular this summer.
Then at the same time we have towns that have placed artwork along the streets for one reason or another that's no where near as well-known. Sazae-san Street may appeal to the locals, but there's not that many people in France willing to make the pilgrimage to Tokyo just to see the artwork leading up to the Hasegawa Machiko museum.
The same probably holds true for Chofu. Chofu is a small town on the Keio line about 15 miles out west from Shinjuku. Head out of the train station on the side with the Parco store, and walk straight away from the station a couple of blocks. Look for Tenjin Dori. You're now in Gegege Kitaro Street.
Gegege no Ge Kitaro is a kid's manga that features a hero from the monster world that answers the pleas of children being terrorized by ghosts and goblins. To an extent, it's a horror title, but it's also an adventure story at the same time. The TV anime has been running in various incarnations since 1968, and is still on Sunday mornings. The main characters include Kitaro, his father "Medama" (eye ball), Nesumi Otoko (mouse man), Neko Musume (Cat Girl), the stone wall and the paper strip.
There's no specific reason why the city of Chofu would want to host the Kitaro characters. But, if you're in the area, it is fun trying to spot them all.
(Sometimes you have to look for them.)
(The light post has a page from the manga on it.)