Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tokiwa-so Monument

Did you know that some of the most famous and influential manga artists of all time actually lived in the same place? It's true!

It was an apartment building called Tokiwa-so, and among its inhabitants were Osamu Tezuka, Cyborg 009 creator Shotaro Ishinomori, and Doraemon creators Fujio Akatsuka and Fujiko Fujio. They would share their work and push each other to become better artists in the creative environment.

The picture at the right is a drawing of some of the creators who lived at Tokiwa-so. I scanned it myself from the book "Manga! Manga!: The World of Japanese Comics" by Fred Schodt, which has a lot of information about this time period in manga history.

Now, although the building no longer exists, a monument is being set up near the sight where it once stood, which will honor the creators who once lived there.

The Yomiuri Shimbun has the story. You can read "Ward to erect monument at site of famed manga artists’ home" at the Daily Yomiuri Online or click the link below for an archived copy

TOKYO / Ward to erect monument at site of famed manga artists' home

The Yomiuri Shimbun

A sign stating that the Tokiwa-so building once stood in the area

A Tokyo ward plans to celebrate the achievements of such manga giants as Osamu Tezuka, Shotaro Ishinomori and Fujio Akatsuka by erecting a monument at the site where an apartment building where they lived once stood.

Tokiwa-so, which formerly stood in the Minami Nagasaki area in Toshima Ward, was home to many young manga artists keen to learn from their peers and attracted by the presence of Tezuka--who moved into the building in 1953.

Tokiwa-so was demolished in 1982 due to age, and new buildings were developed on the site.

"We haven't done much to publicize Tokiwa-so until now," an official of the ward's culture and tourism division said.

Besides erecting a monument, the ward plans to hold an exhibition.

To celebrate the many famed manga artists who once lived in Tokiwa-so, many related municipalities, including Takarazuka in Hyogo Prefecture, Tezuka's hometown, have built museums and memorials.

Toshima Ward has held several manga-related events at local museums, but has never considered such a memorial until now.

However, the ward official said the current fiscal climate made it financially unfeasible to profile the achievement of each of the manga artists.

Following a request from a local community association in December 2007, the ward decided to erect a monument at a cost of about 6.2 million yen.

The monument, which will be erected in a park near the Tokiwa-so site, is scheduled to be unveiled April 4.

It will be 1.7 meters high and 1.3 meters wide and feature autographs and self-portraits of 10 artists and a picture of Tokiwa-so prior to its demolition.

The top of the memorial will depict a miniature reproduction of the apartment building based on residents' recollections.

"There probably aren't that many municipalities which have been fortunate enough to have such a collection of famous manga artists," a ward official said.

The ward also plans in late October to hold an exhibition to re-create a Tokiwa-so room to display fusuma sliding doors featuring the writing of many artists, including Akatsuka.

The ward hopes to differentiate its activities from other similar ideas by concentrating on the lives of the artists themselves, rather than focusing on the characters they created.

It also is considering the possibility of developing the Zoshigaya area to publicize the apartment where Tezuka lived after moving out of Tokiwa-so in 1954.
(Mar. 15, 2009)