World's Largest Manga Library Planned at Former Tokushima Grade School

posted on by Karen Ressler
Proposed library to have 300,000 books, digital lending

Electronic book company Media Do president Yasushi Fujita (43) is cooperating with his home town of Naka, Tokushima to open a manga library on the site of a former grade school. The library will have more than 300,000 manga books, making it the world's largest manga library, larger than the Kyoto International Manga Museum. The project is planned for completion at the end of the 2018 fiscal year.

Fujita estimates that the library project will cost 200 to 300 million yen (about US$1.8 to 2.7 million), and he is personally making an investment. He has previously worked on other revitalization projects for Naka.

The library will include classic Japanese manga — works by creators such as Osamu Tezuka, Shigeru Mizuki, and Go Nagai — as well as popular new titles. In addition to lending physical books, the library will allow digital borrowing for tablets.

The grade school closed in March. Kyoto International Manga Museum also happens to be built at a former elementary school.

Japanese lawmakers formed a caucus last year to plan a Manga National Center, a branch of the existing National Diet Library, as part of the Cool Japan initiative. The proposed museum would open as early as spring of 2020, just before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Meiji University opened its Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subcultures in 2009 with plans to expand to a larger facility, tentatively named Tokyo International Manga Library, with more than 2.5 million publications. However, it has been delayed from its planned 2014 opening.

Kyoto International Manga Museum opened in 2006. Although not strictly a manga library, visitors can pay 800 yen (about US$7 with student discounts available) a day to enter the museum and read books from its collection.

Source: Tokushima Shimbun

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