Osamu Tezuka might be known as the ‘godfather’ of modern anime and manga, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Tezuka and his creations will be joining the modern themed café and gift shop craze, as pioneered by the Gundam Café and Evangelion Store, this July with the newly announced Osamu Tezuka Shop & Café.
Yet, unlike the Evangelion Store and the Gundam Café, the Osamu Tezuka Shop & Café (known as Atom-dou Honpo in Japanese) will be forgoing the more regular modern neighborhoods of Ikebukuro and Akihabara in favor of the distinctly more old fashioned Asakusa.
This area of Tokyo is known for its temples and shrines, as well as the abundance of theatres putting on rakugo and kabuki shows, and not exactly for themed anime and manga cafés.
Even so, the Osamu Tezuka Shop & Café chose Asakusa as the site for the legendary mangaka’s first permanent brick and mortar installation of the like for a very good reason.
According to the official website, Asakusa represents the crossroads between the Showa, Heisei and Reiwa eras – that is to say, between the Japan of the past, present, and future, with its world heritage sites as well as its modern architecture and installations.
As a creator, Tezuka always sought to strive towards a better future for his war-torn country through his art, both animated and illustrated. It’s therefore perhaps only fitting that his works find a home in an area that is home to so many conflicting elements of different periods.
The Osamu Tezuka Shop & Café will also be home to three floors of Tezuka-themed attractions. On the first will be a gift shop, selling all manner of goods relating to Tezuka’s myriad of works in both anime and manga form. On the second will be the aforementioned themed café, which will be serving up food based on Tezuka’s characters and series. On the third will be a multipurpose space for events and exhibitions.
It’s worth mentioning that this installation in Asakusa isn’t the first Tezuka themed shop or café, nor will it be the last. There have been countless cafés inspired by Tezuka’s works put on in the past by themed café organizers such as Animate Café, and there’s also already a themed café and gift shop attached to the Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum in Hyogo Prefecture.
But the Osamu Tezuka Shop & Café will be the creator’s first permanent installation in the Tokyo metropolis, Japan’s most highly populated area. This is important not just in terms of footfall, but also in bringing the creator closer to the center of Japan’s modern popular culture industry.
Why this year has been chosen for the shop and café’s grand opening is quite obvious. With the recent Dororo anime releasing to rave reception, there’s a clear appetite for Tezuka’s works – one that the Osamu Tezuka Shop & Café hopes to satisfy.
The Osamu Tezuka Shop & Café will host it’s pre-opening on June 28, with its grand opening slated for July 5. Check out the official website for more details.