Monday, May 2, 2011

Finding Anime and Manga in Kagoshima, Kyushu

I was kind of going to hold off on starting up this post until I got a little more information to work with, but two of the ongoing events will be wrapping up soon and I want to mention them while I still have the time.

Kagoshima is pretty far away from Tokyo, and, being at the southern end of Kyushu, could be considered as "isolated". According to the wiki entry, the city had a population of roughly 606,000 in 2010, so it's not exactly tiny, and the major shopping district, Tenmonkan, is about 6 blocks square. While I'm told that a number of westerners attend the university here, and there is an international exchange center downtown, I've only seen 5-6 foreigners so far and not been able to talk to any of them. But, it's not exactly a complete wasteland if you're looking for anime or manga.

In fact, because this is Japan, you can find manga just about anywhere, and even the most remote cities will have enough TV channels to bring in at least 20 anime TV series a week (not counting whatever's at the rental shops). On the other hand, a town has to reach a certain population level to support the kind of department stores that you see in Kagoshima, and that's where things become a little more tolerable.


The main train station is Kagoshima-chuo, which is directly connected to AmuPla (Amusement Plaza), and on the 4th floor of this shopping complex is a Kinokuniya bookstore. Not one of the largest stores in the chain, but they do have a good selection of new manga.

Maruya Gardens is a department store on Izuro Douri in the Tenmonkon shopping district. They have Jyunkudo - a bookstore that takes over most of the 5th floor, and their new manga section is very impressive. I've discovered some manga here that I don't think I've seen in Tokyo. Interestingly, it looks like Jyunkudo is aligned with Maruzen.

Maruzen has its own bookstore in Tenmonkan, in the Vistoraru building, and the entire 6th floor is dedicated to manga. Very big selection.

Book-Off has several locations across Kagoshima, but the one I've seen on route 21, near the Takamibaba street car stop on the way towards Tenmonkan has a very good selection of cheap new and used manga. Their selection of used movie DVDs and music CDs is less varied and not really inexpensive, unfortunately.

Just as a comment, Mandarake does have two locations in Kyushu - one in Fukuoka and the other in Kokura, but nothing in Kagoshima. Sigh.

Comic Toranoana also has a shop in Fukuoka.

Anime and Manga:

Would you believe that Kagoshima has an Animate? Third floor of the Vision Building on route 21 just as you're coming into Tenmonkan from the train station. Lots of new manga, magazines, anime, CDs, paraphenalia, posters and toys. Be aware that this place is PACKED with kids during the weekends.

Events and Exhibits:
Ok, this is what prompted this blog entry in the first place. There are currently two showings that will wrap up soon. I'm going to list any other events that I can find in the future, but one of them I discovered completely by accident simply because I was in that store for dinner at one of the restaurants on the 7th floor. Meaning that I haven't seen a central source for events and exhibits yet (ala the Friday edition of the Japan Times newspaper or the Metropolis magazine).

The Kagoshima City Museum of Art is running the "Art of Ultraman" exhibit until May 8. Entry is 1,100 yen for adults.

(Technically, this photo was taken at the Kagoshima airport, advertising something completely different, but what can ya do? That's Sakura-jima island, an active volcano in the middle of the bay in front of Kagoshima, in the background.)

The Yamakataya department store is currently showing the artwork of Leiji Matsumoto (Galaxy Express 999, Captain Harlock) until May 4 in building 2 on Izuro Douri in Tenmonkan. There's to be an auction to raise money for the Tokyo earthquake victims.

Anime Showings:

The Kagoshima International Exchange Center located downtown, a few blocks east of the Kanagawa City Museum of Art, is supposedly a community center. Offices include counseling services for foreigners, research for women's rights, and a passport control office. There's also copies of the English Japan Times newspaper available for reading for free, and a TV airing BBC news broadcasts. No real support for foreigners living in Kagoshima, but it is a place to sit down and chill if you need one. On the 6th floor is a multimedia center, and about 2 weeks per month they show anime on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays - one movie at 11:00 and 2:00 (check event calendar for exact days and show times). Days when they don't show anime they run other family-oriented movies. In May, the showings included Cinderella, Pinocchio, Tezuka's Jungle Taitei, and other more obscure Tezuka titles.

1 comment:

TSOTE said...

Ok, I've seen the Leiji Matsumoto thing now, so I'll comment on it here. Essentially, it's a money raising event for the March 11 earthquake victims (not sure exactly how the money is to be employed though). The exhibit is free, with a small goods shop at the front door. Inside are some original anime cells and manga pages. There's also a model of the Yamato. The rest of the display consists of litho-paintings on sale between $1000 and $5000 USD. Lots of art from Galaxy Express 999, and some from Harlock and Esmerelda. There's a drawing for 3 sign cards, and for $18,000 USD you can get an original painting from Leiji himself.

If you like Leiji's artwork, this exhibit is definitely worth the entry fee.