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MANGA ⇔ TOKYO in The National Art Center, Tokyo

MANGA ⇔ TOKYO presents the relationship between Japanese manga, anime, games, special effects, and Tokyo in three sections. It is currently being held at the National Art Center, Tokyo. This is the successful return of the MANGA⇔TOKYO exhibition, which was held at La Villette in Paris in winter 2018 and attracted over 30,000 people in one month.
Over 500 items are displayed, including original drawings of manga and materials related to anime production, from a total of over 90 titles. This is the one of largest MANGA exhibition in the country.
In addition, by looking at these works through the relationship between MANGA and Tokyo, you will realize that MANGA is like a mirror that reflects the Japanese era and society, the thoughts, and wishes of the people who live in Tokyo. This exhibition shows you the mutual influence MANGA and the city of Tokyo have to each other.

Bringing you to your familiar scenery and feeling at once – Introduction: 1/1000 Scale Giant Model of Tokyo
When you enter the exhibition hall, the first thing that catches your eye is a huge city model of Tokyo, about 17 meters wide and about 22 meters long, reproduced at a scale of 1/1000. The three exhibition sections are arranged around this model. You will find yourself living and working in the model and get a bird’s eye view of the entire city of Tokyo, so that the various manga scenes and characters will become more and more real in your mind.

Trace the history of Tokyo – Section 1: Cycles of Destruction and Reconstruction
Tokyo was hit by the Great Kanto Earthquake (1923) and World War 2 (1941–1945) in the Showa era, and before that, it was devastated by the earthquakes and fires of the Edo period, and it has undergone miraculous reconstruction and development. Memories of those times had a great influence on Japanese manga, anime, games, and special effects works.
Section 1: Cycles of Destruction and Reconstruction includes Godzilla, which portrays the struggle against an unknown creature attacking the society being rebuilt after the war. It also portrays AKIRA, where Neo-Tokyo was in the final stages of reconstruction after suffering a nuclear blast and is destroyed again, sending reconstruction back to square one. We feel that we ourselves may be fighting something in Tokyo, such as memories of the destruction caused by the war symbolized by monsters and anxiety about the imminent earthquake occurring directly under Tokyo city.

Our Life, livings in these works – Section 2: Life in Tokyo
Section 2: Life in Tokyo presents a vivid depiction of the daily life of ordinary people in the city. The three corners “Edo as Pre-Tokyo,” “From the Beginning of Modernization to the Post-modern City,” and “From the End of the Century to the Present,” represent different eras, to exhibit Tokyo as a place for ordinary people to live, through the lens of works depicting people’s daily lives.
You will notice the changes in the way the city of Tokyo is portrayed in each of the films that you may have overlooked in the past because you were so absorbed in the story, such as “Sabu and Ichi“ (ISHINOMORI Shotaro) drawn based on the cityscape of the Edo period and detailed historical evidence, “March comes in like a lion” (UMINO Chica), and “Terror in Resonance“ (MAPPA), which have a solid set of ideas and thoughts that lead to empathy and issues based on a look into the minds of modern people, etc.

The unique Scenery in Japan – Section 3: Characters vs. the City
The last section, Section 3: Characters vs. Cities, presents characters that can be seen in real urban spaces. When presented with these examples, you can realize that Tokyo and other Japanese cities are indeed full of characters, and that these kinfs of sceneries are not often seen in other countries.
Tokyo is presented as a city that coexists with characters, such as mascots that are widely used as tourism resources as Yuru-Kyara (official characters of municipalities), product sales promotion and campaign PR mascots, and character barricades that can be seen at construction sites. Replicas of a convenience store and of a train wagon, common views in Tokyo, are also exhibited in this section. Here, you can experience the charms of the mutual effects MANGA and TOKYO have to each other.




August 12 (Wed.) – November 3 (Tue.), 2020


The National Art, Center, Tokyo Special Exhibition Gallery 1E


7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8558

Official Website


Opening Hours

(Last admission 30 minutes before closing)


on Tuesdays
*Open on November 3


1,600 yen (Adults), 1,200 yen (College students), 800 yen (High school students)
In order to ease congestion, this exhibition requires everyone – including those who already have exhibition tickets- to make an online reservation for a “specified date/time ticket”. Please check here for details. https://www.e-tix.jp/nact_datetime/en/