Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I'm trying to compile a list of manga galleries and museums in Japan, and I want to visit the places located in Tokyo in order to write up accurate reviews and/or descriptions of each. I'm not really attracted by the art style of Suiho Tagawa, but I definitely have to accept his importance within manga history and his impact on later artists. Machiko Hasegawa, creator of "Sazae-san", apprenticed under Tagawa, and Osamu Tezuka recognized him as an influence as well.

As mentioned in the Norakuro Street entry, Suiho Tagawa (1899-1989) was born in Morishita, Tokyo, an area about 1 mile south of the sumo district of Ryogoku. He served in the Japanese Imperial army from 1919 to 1922; graduated from the Japan School of Art in 1925; and began producing manga in 1927 (initially under the pen name Awa Takamizu, which was latter modified to Suiho Tagawa). His most successful title was "Private Second Class Norakuro" ("stray black dog"), which started in 1931 and was turned into a TV anime series in 1970 and again in 1987.

The Norakuro Manga Museum, in the Morishita Bunka (Cultural) Center, is on Takabashi Yomise Dori, about 3 blocks east from 463, on the right. The building is an all-purpose cultural center, with the display for Tagawa on the first floor; an exhibit showing the process for making wooden boats and silk screened cloth on the second; general meeting rooms on the third; and an AV room and a traditional tea room on the fourth. There are a lot of fliers for various local events and gatherings next to the door.

My camera battery died in the middle of my taking photos, so I couldn't document the entire exhibit. There's a reproduction of Tagawa's study; examples of his manga; a timeline of his life and works; tribute drawings from Hasegawa (Sazae-san), Tezuka (Tetsuwan Atomu) and others; and some of the Norakuro anime running on the TV. A table in front of the display has copies of his original manga for children to read.

There's a stamp pad if you want a souvenir, and there's even instructions on how to do a Norakuro origami.

The full album can be found here. The official Norakuro website is here. The address in English is here.

A small selection of the Norakuro goods available from the shops on Norakuro Street.

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