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Proactive collaboration with literary comics! Encouraging young generations to become interested in literature - Efforts of the Kanagawa Museum of Modern Literature

文豪コミックと積極コラボ!若い世代に文学への興味のきっかけを~神奈川近代文学館の取り組み
The Kanagawa Museum of Modern Literature is located in a corner of Minato-no-Mieruoka Park.
The Kanagawa Museum of Modern Literature is located in a corner of Minato-no-Mieruoka Park.


–On my way to the Kanagawa Museum of Modern Literature, I passed through Minato-no-Mieruoka Park.
First of all, please tell us what kind of facility the Kanagawa Museum of Modern Literature is.

Handa: The Museum of Modern Literature opened in 1984 (Showa 59), and this year marks its 32nd year. It is a "museum" that preserves and exhibits materials related to authors and literary works related to Kanagawa Prefecture, but it is also a "library" specializing in modern Japanese literature and an "event hall" that holds lectures and other events. .

The permanent exhibition is titled "Kanagawa's Scenic and Literature", and will feature works from five regions in Kanagawa Prefecture, including Yokohama/Kawasaki, Kamakura, Miura/Shonan, and Odawara. We introduce manuscripts and materials of deep writers.

–Kanagawa has many towns related to famous literary figures.

Handa: Yes. We introduce seasonal scenery photos and works of the town in a realistic display.

There is also an exhibition that reproduces Natsume Soseki's study. A drama about Natsume Soseki and his wife was aired on NHK this fall (Saturday drama "Natsume Soseki's wife"), and the production staff came to see the drama set as a reference.

Currently, a special autumn exhibition, "Shotaro Yasuoka Exhibition - From 'I' to 'History'" is being held until November 27th (Sun).

–What kind of exhibitions have you had so far? Which exhibition was your favorite?

Handa: Exhibits of writers who are said to be great writers are very popular. In recent years, there were Chuya Nakahara exhibition in 2013, Osamu Dazai exhibition in 2014, Junichiro Tanizaki exhibition and Yoko Sano exhibition of "The cat that lived a million times" last year.

The Natsume Soseki exhibition held in spring this year (special exhibition “Natsume Soseki in the 100th Anniversary” from March 26 (Sat) to May 22 (Sun)) was well received and many people visited the museum. .

About "Shotaro Yasuoka Exhibition: From 'I' to 'History'"

Shotaro Yasuoka exhibition is being held at a special exhibition
Shotaro Yasuoka exhibition is being held at a special exhibition

–Could you tell us about the “Shotaro Yasuoka Exhibition” that is currently being held?

Handa: Yes, this is the first exhibition to comprehensively trace the life and literature of Akutagawa Prize-winning author Shotaro Yasuoka (1920-2013).

Shotaro Yasuoka was born in Kochi Prefecture, and when he was young, he often changed places due to his father's work.

After that, World War II began and he was drafted at the age of 24, but was deported after suffering from tuberculosis on the battlefield.

– (Looking at the exhibition) But after that, it says that his unit was wiped out on Leyte Island. You were quite lucky. At that time, it may have been an atmosphere that could not be said.

Handa: He died at the age of 93, which was a long life.
However, his house in Tokyo was burnt down in an air raid, and he seems to have been battling illness for a while after the war. Under such circumstances, I started writing novels, and the works drawn from the perspective of myself as an “inferior student” and “a sloth” attracted the attention of the world. His humorous essays were also popular, but in later years he also wrote historical novels set in the end of the Edo period, as his paternal ancestors were patriots of the Tosa clan.

– So you were active in a wide range of fields for a long time. There are not only manuscripts but also many letters in the exhibits, but it seems that you are a diligent writer. You also take a lot of pictures, but was the camera your hobby?

Handa: At the time of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, I was invited by film director Kon Ichikawa to become one of the film crews for the movie "Tokyo Olympics."

-very! Your skill with the camera also transcended the realm of your hobby.
By the way, since you are from Kochi Prefecture, materials from the end of the Edo period are also on display. Picture scrolls, family trees, old letters.

Handa: The story of the ancestors of the Yasuoka family, who were Goshi of the Tosa clan at the end of the Edo period, is depicted in a long novel called "Ryuritan." It is a historical novel about an ancestor named 'Yasuoka Kisuke', who belonged to the Tosa Loyalist Party and was involved in the assassination of Toyo Yoshida with the aim of revering the king and expelling foreigners.

– Tosa Loyalist Party! …So your ancestor was active in Tosa at the same time as “Ryoma Sakamoto” and “Hampeita Takeichi”.
I had never read any of Shotaro Yasuoka's works, but when I saw the exhibition here, I became very interested. Opportunities like this are important.

Handa: Yes. At the Museum of Literature, we are always thinking about creating opportunities for people to come into contact with literature and get interested in it. For example, author Haruki Murakami wrote an essay for the catalog of this exhibition.

Mr. Murakami was very influenced by Mr. Yasuoka's writing style, so he kindly sent me the text.

Many Haruki fans have visited the museum as a result of exhibiting Haruki Murakami's contributions.

"Bungo Stray Dogs" A literary approach to the younger generation

The main character of the work, Atsushi Nakajima, was displayed next to the main entrance.
The main character of the work, Atsushi Nakajima, was displayed next to the main entrance.

–By the way, when you entered the museum today, did you notice the large illustration panel at the entrance?

Handa: There is a manga/anime called "Bungo Stray Dogs" that is very popular among the younger generation. Held until the 31st * Literature Museum is closed on the 31st and Mondays).

Since our museum is one of the points of the stamp rally, many fans came.

–Why is this a rally point?

Handa: In "Bungo Stray Dogs," characters with the same names as real-life great writers are characters. I used to be a teacher at a girls' school in Yamate, so I'm a writer who has a very deep connection with Yokohama.

Nearly all of Nakajima's manuscripts and related materials, nearly 4,700 items, are stored in the museum's "Nakajima Atsushi Collection."

That's why the stamp of the main character, Atsushi Nakajima, has become our museum. This is the third stamp rally project, and it is very popular with young fans.

So for all the fans who visited the museum, I set up a message book section that will be delivered to the editorial department of the magazine where the work is published and the author's teachers after the event is over. What is it?

Many people commented that this book inspired them to read the works of Atsushi Nakajima, Osamu Dazai, and Ryunosuke Akutagawa.

A message book full of passion for the work
A message book full of passion for the work

– (While showing the book) I'm glad to hear that you've come to like literature! A lot of illustrations are drawn, but everyone is very good!

Handa: When I read the contents, I was impressed that even elementary and junior high school students could write kanji properly. Instead of just getting a stamp and going to the next one, they will take a look at the permanent and special exhibitions as well. I am very happy that the base of literature lovers is expanding through manga and anime.

During the stamp rally period, collaborative works by the Museum of Modern Literature and Bungo Stray Dogs were displayed.
During the stamp rally period, collaborative works by the Museum of Modern Literature and Bungo Stray Dogs were displayed.

–Since the story is set in Yokohama, I would like you to enjoy the popular “Seichi Pilgrimage (visiting the places where the work is set)” among anime fans.

Handa: Yes. Around the Museum of Modern Literature, there are many scenes that appear in his works.

It's been a long time since it's been said that young people are moving away from reading, but we want to help many people enrich their lives with the power of literature. I would like to come up with such a plan.

We are also focusing on planning museum goods
We are also focusing on planning museum goods

Handa: In addition to exhibitions, we also carry out various promotional activities such as lectures, book readings, and lifelong learning support activities.

Materials in the library can be used free of charge in the reading room on the 1st floor of the main building (they are not available for loan). There are many valuable literary materials that are difficult to obtain, so we hope that you will use them widely for surveys and research.

The way to the Kanagawa Museum of Modern Literature is about a 10-minute walk from Motomachi-Chukagai Station. While taking a walk, please feel free to come and enjoy the scenery of Yokohama's port, the streets of Yamate with Western-style buildings, and the garden of Minato-no-Mieruoka Park.

Kanagawa Museum of Modern Literature

  • Location: 110 Yamate-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture
  • Phone number: 045-622-6666
  • Closed: Mondays (open if Monday is a national holiday), exhibition changeover period, year-end and New Year holidays
  • Opening hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    *The reading room is open until 18:30 on weekdays (17:00 on weekends and holidays).
  • Closed: Mondays (open if Monday is a national holiday), the last weekday of each month, and closed from February 1st to 10th.
Special Exhibition "Shotaro Yasuoka Exhibition: From 'I' to 'History'"

  • Date: Saturday, October 1, 2016 to Sunday, November 27, 2016 Closed on Mondays (Open on October 10)
  • Opening hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Admission until 4:30 p.m.)
  • Venue: Kanagawa Museum of Modern Literature 2nd and 3rd exhibition rooms
  • Admission fee: 600 yen (400 yen) for adults, 300 yen (200 yen) for students aged 65 and over/under 20, 100 yen for high school students, free for junior high school students and younger
  • *Prices in ( ) are for groups of 20 or more.
  • * Free for those with a physical disability certificate, rehabilitation certificate, or mental disability certificate (please inquire for details)
  • * Free of charge upon presentation of a certificate of damage caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake, certificate of damage, etc.
Bungo Stray Dogs

Original: Kafka Asagiri Drawing: 35 Harukawa A popular comic that has sold over 4.1 million copies.
Set in Yokohama, this is a battle action manga in which characters modeled after real-life literary figures such as Atsushi Nakajima and Osamu Dazai fight using supernatural powers. It is being developed in various media mixes such as novelization and animation.

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