Kyoto’s manga museum delight

WILLIAM YEOMAN is enchanted by one of Japan’s quirkiest museums

The Kyoto International Manga Museum opened in November 2006, the result of a partnership between Kyoto City and Kyoto Seika University. The brief? “To collect, preserve, and exhibit manga materials, and conduct research into manga culture, for the purpose of holding exhibitions and events based on the research of these manga materials which are attracting attention from around the world.”

The collection comprises well over 300,000 items, a mix of manga and merch. Of the former, some can be borrowed, others can only be read on the premises. So you can see why you might need a bit longer than the two hours I have to spend here.

There’s the Wall of Manga, an open-access library spanning works from the 1970s to today. There’s the cavernous Main exhibition space, which attempts to answer, in a series of engaging displays, the question “What is Manga?” There are temporary exhibitions, such as the one I see on this occasion, Kamogawa — Colourful Characters. There’s a very cute-looking Children’s Library, and a performance space where a troupe regularly performs kamishibai, a traditional form of storytelling using picture boards.

There is the Manga Artists’ Hands exhibition, which displays more than 100 plaster casts of artists’ hands, some holding drawing implements, besides examples of their work. There is a Research Reference Room, a Manga Studio featuring artists at work, a workshop space for YOU to work and a portrait corner where you can get your portrait done manga style. And, of course, there’s a cafe.

This is an edited version of the original, full-length story, which you can read here.

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Fact File

The Kyoto International Manga Museum is open 10am-6pm every day except Wednesdays. Ticket prices are 800 yen (about $10) for adults, 300 yen (about $5) for school students. Tickets permit multiple entries throughout the day of purchase.


William Yeoman travelled to Japan as a guest of AGNSW and Destination NSW. They have not seen or approved this story.


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