Hiromi Naya, President, Meiji University
Manga and anime, which are two Japanese subcultures, have in the past both deeply penetrated our lives and played an important role in drawing overseas interest to Japan. However, despite their significance—perhaps because they are truly subcultures—preservation of manga and anime documents has very rarely been carried out systematically, even by public institutions. In consideration of this situation, Meiji University established the School of Global Japanese Studies in April 2008 and, in addition to promoting research and education in this field, set about as a university initiative the planning and preparation of a manga, anime, and video game archive facility that would be largest of its kind in the world. The purpose of this facility is to, with the cooperation of all, bring together and preserve in one integrated location materials that have until now been collected and preserved mainly through the individual efforts of experts and volunteers, as well as to broadly contribute to research and the cultural utilization of manga, anime, and other subcultures.
The newly opened Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subculture is the first step in these efforts. A graduate of Meiji University, the late Mr. Yonezawa was not only a leading manga critic but also the co-founder and force behind the Comic Market (Comiket), the giant earth-moving development in manga culture that attracts around 500,000 participants each time the event is held. Mr. Yonezawa was also known as a collector of obscure manga and other rare subculture-related materials. Through the generosity of his widow, Mrs. Eiko Yonezawa, the Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subculture has been provided with the enormous and precious library that he left. With this collection as its pillar, the library is being realized with the cooperation of the Comic Market and various other groups and organizations, and I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to all those involved.
It is my hope that this facility will in the future become a forum for new discoveries and exchange in the Kanda (Jimbocho), Tokyo, neighborhood where the late Mr. Yonezawa preferred to gather materials.
As I was writing these words of greeting I recalled talking with fellow manga collectors at the time over drinks or whatever about “how great it would be if there were a library of antique manga, and how we might be able to create one together by pooling our comic books”. This was just before I met Mr. Yonezawa. When I later told Mr. Yonezawa about this idea he laughed as he said, “That would be impossible since you’re all collectors.” Around the mid-1970s there was a manga bubble in the world of antique books, and there much talk flying about “How much such-and-such’s B6 edition sold for” and “How much X magazine sold for altogether.” It was also a time when people were scolded for “reading manga at your age,” and so when “lowly” manga sold for such amazingly high prices, I was both surprised and somewhat pleased by this recognition. However, in response to all this Mr. Yonezawa simply said, “I’m not a collector.” To him, manga was just reading material like any other. Science fiction, film, rock music, pop music, theater, and painting—he was interested in everything, but even so, I think that he was most familiar with manga.
In cooperating in the creation of the Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subculture, I first of all wanted to show everyone as far as possible the manga that Yonezawa had been the most familiar with, after which I hope to gradually present other of his books. What wonders will await us? Actually, I myself do not know the whole picture. Through the operation of the library, I believe that aspects of Yoshihiro Yonezawa that even I do not fully understand will gradually become clear. This is something to look forward to in the future…That's alright, isn't it, dear "Brother"? (I referred to him as "brother" when he was with us.) You are the one who said, “I am not a collector.”
Last but not least, I would like to express my appreciation to everyone involved for their cooperation in making this library a reality. Thank you very much.
Co-Representatives of the Comic Market (Comiket) Committee;
Kahoru Yasuda, Yoshiyuki Fudetani, Kouichi Ichikawa
When speaking of Yoshihiro Yonezawa, people’s strongest impressions of him may be as president of the Comic Market or as a manga critic, but the scope of his interests was not limited to manga, but also included various subcultures as well: Music, film, science fiction, antique books, erotica, bizarre / grotesque material and absurd / nonsensical presentations. He expressed interest in a diverse range of genres and endeavored in numerous projects. The interests he required for his work blended harmoniously with his personal interests, and on his death, he left an enormous library containing several thousand boxes of books and other documents. Now, entrusting and donating the Yonezawa collection to his alma mater, Meiji University, has led to the creation of the Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subculture, and the establishment of this structure, which can be used by researchers and many others, is a truly joyous occasion for the Comic Market fostered by Yonezawa himself.
The Comic Market specializes in the medium of dojinshi (self-published material), but it has functioned for more than 30 years now as a forum for promoting new and free expressions and works as much as possible, as a forum for communication through fan activities, and as a forum for people seeking new possibilities in encountering works. Libraries, however, function as forums for collecting, cataloging, preserving, and providing various materials and have been the foundation for new intellectual encounters and discoveries. We cannot help but anticipate something new being born from the forum provided by the Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subculture.
Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to express our warmest appreciation to Prof. Kaichiro Morikawa and numerous Meiji University faculty members, in addition to others involved for their tremendous efforts to make this library a reality, as well as to everyone else who lent their support to this endeavor.