Manga (comics), anime (animation), and related Japanese pop-cultures today play important roles as export industries, as well as mediums of cultural exchange. Together with their diversity, these pop-cultures are supported by a wide range of generations in Japan and so function as a mirror vividly reflecting the Japanese culture of the time.
Despite the multidimensional importance of manga and anime in culture, industry, and academia, currently very little is being done, even by public organizations, to gather materials on manga and anime in the systematic and integrated manner that is necessary for clarifying their history and diffusion. Meanwhile, many have pointed out the urgency of preserving these materials to enable multilevel academic research and cultural utilization of manga and anime into the next generation.
In April 2008, Meiji University established the School of Global Japanese Studies. In addition to promoting research and education in this field, in October 2009, Meiji University also opened the Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subculture. This library is the first step in the design of the Tokyo International Manga Library (tentative name), conceived as the world’s largest manga, anime, and video game archive facility in terms of its collection. The purpose of this facility is to bring together and preserve in one integrated location, materials that have until now been collected and preserved mainly through the individual efforts of private collectors and researchers, as well as to broadly contribute to research on and the cultural utilization of manga, anime, and related pop-cultures.
Through the social collaboration of various industries and groups, the library will be created as a facility with a public mission in Surugadai, an area in close proximity to the pop-culture hubs of Jimbocho and Akihabara.