Suginami-ku, Tokyo, the location for many companies related to animation production, is known as an anime town. The Suginami Animation Museum is a center that provides a fun and systematic way to learn, experience, and understand anime. In addition to diverse exhibits on the history of Japanese anime, an anime production workplace, and the latest digital production technology, the museum also invites professional creators to give talks, and organizes workshops where you can actually experience producing anime. Moreover, in the library filled with a rich collection of anime-related materials, you can browse through books and watch DVDs.
Last March 2005, this museum dedicated to animation opened in Tokyo. Anime is created in some 400 studios throughout the country, and more than 70 of these are concentrated in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward, making this area a true anime town. The Suginami Animation Museum, which symbolizes the district’s anime prowess, provides visitors with a unique opportunity to have a go at making anime themselves. The museum is just 5 minutes from north exit (No.0&1 bus stop) of Ogikubo Station on the JR Chuo Line or Tokyo Metro Subway Marunouchi Line, from there it is just a 1 minute walk from Ogikubo Keisatusho-mae (Ogikubo Police Station) bus stop. The museum is closed on Mondays and is open from 10 in the morning to 6 in the evening. Or if you want to stay in the Suginami area, why not stay in Hotel Amista Asagaya. Other nearby hotels are Shibuya Excel Tokyu Hotel and Shibuya Tobu Hotel.
The first thing that catches your eye in the museum is a huge timeline. Animation was first created in Japan in 1917, but only after World War II did it begin to be produced commercially and shown regularly. Feature-length anime films produced by Toei, a major movie company, were shown at movie theaters during summer vacation beginning in 1958, and anime first made an impact on television in 1963 with the weekly broadcasts of Astro Boy, created by Osamu Tezuka . The timeline area of the museum includes video footage and provides an easy-to-understand explanation of the history of Japanese anime.
There is also a How Anime is Made area, just go into the dubbing booth and you can become the voice actor for one of your beloved anime characters. Within the booth is a microphone and a screen, where Osamu Tezuka‘s Black Jack is projected on to the screen. You assume the role of either Black Jack or Pinoko, and after speaking your lines into the microphone, your work is played right back for you.
There is also a Special Exhibit Zone, where exhibitions on various anime series are held. The exhibition presents the world of featured series, and the many changes it has undergone in all the years since it was first created. There is also a collection of panels, exhibits, and images of the series included in the exhibit. The museum also has an anime theater, where anime films are shown on a 150-inch screen, as well as an anime library, where books and documents on anime can be read and filmed interviews with anime directors and producers can be viewed.
The museum, which has many hands-on exhibits, also has a digital workshop, where visitors can add color to illustrations and then set them in motion as animation. For anyone who thinks they might like to become an animator in the future, this is a great place to visit.