Nakano Broadway marks 50 years, now known as a center for Japanese cultural memorabilia


Staff Photographer

Nakano Broadway turns 50 this year. The shopping complex in Tokyo’s busy Nakano district remains popular with enthusiasts of pop culture, boasting dozens of manga, anime and collectors’ shops.

The scruffy but vibrant building, housing some 300 shops and restaurants across its five floors, sits at the end of the Nakano Sun Mall shopping street, which is adjacent the north exit of JR Nakano Station.

Since the opening of Mandarake Inc. stores at the center in 1980, Nakano Broadway has evolved into a center for enthusiasts of pop subculture, offering everything from cosplay items and old movie posters to figurines, plastic models, toys and used books. There is, of course, a good dosing also of manga publications and anime goods.

The Mandarake chain boasts 27 outlets in Nakano Broadway alone. It has a dominant presence in the complex, occupying almost all of the four floor and much of the second and the third floors.

As many as 16 non-Japanese staffers are working at Mandarake stores in the complex, offering services in Japanese, English, Chinese and other languages. Zhansaya Baigaziyeva, an employee from Kazakhstan, dresses up in cosplay and offers guided tours of Mandarake stores on Saturdays.

These days, however, a surge in the number of foreign tourists has turned the complex into not just a place to go for pop culture goods but also for watches, jewelry and other expensive items sold at duty-free shops.

Nakano Broadway’s official website is at www.nbw.jp.

This section, appearing in the first week of each month, explores in photographs neighborhoods of interest.