Manga is a fast-flowing industry. In bookstores manga magazines and comic books line the shelves with the latest hits constantly coming and going. This means there are fewer and fewer chances to read older comics or re-read the ones you’ve read and liked before. Tachikawa Manga Park offers a place for children, the readers of the future, to encounter manga masterpieces from the past.
Visitors are encouraged to relax while reading the wide range of manga, much like they might read lounging around on the floor or sitting in a little cubbyhole.
The Tachikawa Manga Park opened in March 2013 as part of the Tachikawa Children’s Future Center, which now occupies the site where the old city hall used to be. The director of the center, Masato Fukushi, tells us: “Manga genres have become very diverse in recent years, going beyond the framework of just being entertainment for children and adults. Now we can learn from manga; there is an interchange. The Tachikawa Manga Park is located near to facilities for raising children and this means it can have a good influence on the children’s futures.”
The Tachikawa Manga Park houses some 30,000 manga titles, with a wide range of titles and publishers, from Osamu Tezuka’s ‘Black Jack’ to recent hits like Eichiro Oda’s ‘One Piece’. Visitors pay an entrance fee of ¥400 (or ¥200 for children) and then are free to choose any manga they want to read, either inside or out on the balcony.
Satisfy both your gastronomic and literary appetites! At the café you can buy snacks and drinks to enjoy while reading a comic book.
The way the facility is arranged inside is really unique. The walls and doors are almost entirely wood, while the floors are fitted with tatami Japanese mats. You can also get inside some closet-like cubbyholes and be like Doraemon. “The tatami flooring is meant to feel like an old Showa era home,” says Fukushi. “We aimed to create an environment as if you are reading manga while relaxing at home with your friends and family.”
Visitors can lie on the floor or go inside the cubbyholes to read manga. This is the way that Japanese people really want to enjoy comic books!
But Tachikawa Manga Park is not just about creating encounters between readers and comic books. It’s also about connecting people too. In July and August it held classes teaching kids how to draw manga and then the best “graduates” of the course had their work produced as mini booklets.
But of course, it’s not only kids who can have fun at the “park”.
Adults can also re-encounter the manga they loved as kids. The range of comics is vast, including ones about cooking and raising children. All generations will be able to find something to read.
Over this year’s summer holidays Tachikawa Manga Park was packed with parents and their kids.