Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tezuka exhibit in Kagoshima

From July 21st to Sept. 1st, the Nagashima art museum is holding an exhibit on Osamu Tezuka (900 yen for adults, 600 for high school students, 300 for elementary students and younger).

The main exhibit hall and ticket counter are in the basement of the museum annex building. After visiting the main exhibit, you can go back up to ground level and enter the main building to look at the rest of the exhibit.

I'd written about trying to find the Nagashima museum before, when they had hosted an exhibit on animator Kunio Kato. At the time, I'd thought that Nagashima was actually the Nakamura museum out at Kami Ijuin, and I didn't know that there was a museum close to the west side of the main Chuo train station. This time, I knew roughly where the Nagashima museum is, but I hadn't visited it yet so I only had a rough idea of how long it would take to walk there. To shorten the trek a little, I took the city tram from the platform near the apartment about 1 km to the platform nearest the museum (2 stops past Chuo station). That platform is along the same street leading to the San-El community building. Heading in the opposite direction, I went over the bridge crossing the train tracks and headed towards the shrine above the tunnel. From there, it's just a couple short blocks south to the big sign saying "turn here".

Well, technically, the sign says "turn here, museum 1km". It's at the top of one of the tallest hills in Kagoshima, and it's a half-mile hike up. The roads are narrow and twisty, we didn't see any buses along the way, and there were no taxis at the museum for getting a ride back down. It's a strenuous walk, and not fun on a hot day. Fortunately, the sky was cloudy and threatened to rain the entire time, so it wasn't as brutal as it could have been. The museum has a number of rooms holding permanent exhibits featuring bronze statues, porcelain pieces from around the world, and some European and Japanese oil painters (including Picasso and Kuroda). Naturally, there are "no camera" signs everywhere.

Gift shop.

Banner hanging over the stairs leading down to the annex basement. I didn't want to use the flash, and the camera had trouble focusing in the dim light. The banner is for Ribbon Knight, one of Tezuka's earliest serialized manga, which started in 1953. It was heavily influenced by the all-female Takarazuka Revue, since Tezuka had grown up near the Takarazuka theater.

Basement ticket lobby. Photography is encouraged in front of the life-sized character statues.

A poster with pretty much every major and supporting character used in all of Tezuka's manga. My favorites are Don Dracula (upper left corner) and his daughter, Chocola (at about the height of Tezuka's right elbow).

A couple more life-sized statues that you can have your photo taken with - Blackjack and Ribbon Knight. Blackjack was Tezuka's first successful attempt at entering the gekiga (realistic pictures) market in 1973.

The exhibit is focused specifically on Tezuka and features example panels of various manga (Atom Boy, Vampire, Blackjack) and some recreations of his desk and study area. There are two small theater spaces for watching Atom Boy episodes, and a glass case containing some old manga books. One exhibit room is dedicated to the newly released remake of Buddha, and I expect that the reason for having the Tezuka exhibit is to promote the new anime.

There had been a big exhibit on Tezuka in 2009 at the Edo-Tokyo Museum. It was a lot more inclusive, and had sections on some of the people that had helped Tezuka with his manga, plus information on Tokiwa-sou (the apartment building Tezuka lived in around 1952, along with a number of other famous artists). The Nagashima exhibit makes no real mention of Tokiwa-sou, or of COM, the short-lived magazine he founded to compete against Garo.

(One of the exhibit rooms.)

Overall, the exhibit is worth visiting, but the entrance fee is expensive for what you get. Just make sure you can get someone to drive you to the museum, if at all possible.

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