The nine-story building that housed publisher Shogakukan Inc. for almost half a century in Tokyo will soon be demolished to give way for a new and better earthquake-proof structure. Demolition will begin in September, but before the execution begins, manga artists from across the country gathered to mark the building with their drawings as a tribute.
The Shogakukan building currently stands in Hitotsubashi, in the capital’s Chiyoda Ward. It was completed in January 1967 and has been the venue of a number of hit manga, not just in Japan but also abroad. Crayon Shin-chan, Detective Conan, Flame of Recca, InuYasha, Pokemon, Ranma ½, and Revolutionary Girl Utena, among others, were all published by Shogakukan. The building was even called “Oba-Q-building” from then hit manga Obake no Q-taro, by Fujiko Fujio.
Editors of Big Comic Spirits, one of the seinen (for young men) manga, and other magazines under Shogakukan, have decided to make a tribute to the building by organizing a drawing event. More than 20 manga artists were gathered this month and drew characters on the walls of the building. Among those who joined were Naoki Urasawa and Masami Yuki. “As a rookie, I was so nervous that I don’t remember much about the time except for seeing the reception lobby. I’m sad that this building will be torn down, but also thankful that I got a chance to say goodbye to the building with my senior manga artists I admire as well as young cartoonists,” shared Yuki, who came to Shogakukan 31 years ago.
Obake no Q-taro’s creator also took part in the event. Fujiko Fujio, the pen name used by duo Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko, is known for a number of manga including Mojacko and the inconic Doraemon. Fujio was also behind Kaibutsu-kun, which was adapted into a TV drama in 2010 with Satoshi Ohno of Arashi playing the lead character. “Even those artists who knew each other only by name started to bond as they worked together on the drawings. It was moving to see them show their artistic spirit,” shared the surprised Naoko Yamauchi, an editor of Big Comic Spirits. The new Shogakukan building will be completed by early 2016.