‘Manga’ library opens at Meiji University

Kyodo News

A library opened in Tokyo last weekend featuring traditional “manga” comic books that were popular nearly half a century ago and a rare collection of romantic manga for women.

The Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subculture, which opened Saturday at Meiji University’s Surugadai campus in Chiyoda Ward, is stocked with most comic books published in Japan in the 1960s and later.

The collection includes the smash-hit girls’ manga “Ribon” and “Nakayoshi.”

Visitors can also browse through entertainment magazines published just after the war.

Users can become one-day members of the library, which is closed Tuesdays through Thursdays, and gain access to about 70,000 of the 140,000 comic books for about ¥100 per copy. But the publications cannot be taken outside the library.

The facility is named after Yoshihiro Yonezawa, a noted manga critic who died in 2006.

The university views the facility as the opening phase in an attempt to build “the world’s largest” library featuring manga by 2014.

The completed facility, provisionally named the Tokyo International Manga Library, will feature 2 million publications available for research into modern Japanese manga culture, which is gaining popularity abroad.

Since the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration decided to scrap a plan to construct a national media arts center, or manga museum, the Meiji library figures to play a pre-eminent role in manga research.

The final version, which will be built by renovating junior high and high school classrooms affiliated with the university, will have reading rooms and a theater.

The collection is expected to include manga, original cels from publications and animated moves, video game consoles and software, and other merchandise.

Meiji University first started considering establishing the facility in 2005.