Page last updated at 12:08 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 13:08 UK

Manga library planned for Japan

Astro Boy
Manga series Astro Boy has been given the Hollywood film treatment

A Tokyo university is planning to open a library to promote serious study of Japanese manga comics.

The proposed Tokyo International Manga Library will house two million comic books, animation drawings, video games and other cartoon industry artefacts.

It is hoped the new library will open by early 2015 at Meiji University.

"Manga has been taken lightly in the past and there has been no solid archive for serious study," the university's Susumi Shibao told AFP.

"We want to help academic studies on manga as part of Japanese culture," she added.

It is anticipated that the library will be made available to researchers and fans from Japan and abroad.

Proposed Tokyo International Manga Library
An artist's impression of what the proposed library would look like

Initial plans include the opening of the Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subculture at the end of this month.

It will feature the late manga critic Yoshihiro Yonezawa's collection of 140,000 comic books.

Woodblock prints

Hayao Miyazaki's Oscar-winning film Spirited Away is a classic example of anime - animation based on manga styles.

Outside Japan, manga comics are mostly associated with science fiction and fantasy, but manga also encompasses a much wider range of genres - from high literature to soap operas.

Their characteristic style descends from the popular woodblock prints common in the 18th and 19th centuries known as ukiyoe, which often featured humorous depictions of Japanese urban life.

The former Japanese government had set aside 11.7bn yen ($128m, £78m) for a museum on Japanese cartoon art and pop culture to be built in Tokyo.

But the plan was axed when the administration was ousted in the elections in August.

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