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Japanese government creating manga preservation system

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TOKYO >> The Cultural Affairs Agency is examining the conditions of original drawings by leading manga artists in Japan and researching methods for preserving them. The agency aims to prevent the deterioration and loss of valuable drawings and other materials.

The agency began the research in January, with cooperation from Tetsuya Chiba, 85, known for his work “Ashita no Joe” (“Tomorrow’s Joe”), and will gradually expand the scope of the work to include other famous manga artists. It plans to focus on drawings and materials from Chiba through March.

In addition to cataloging, examining and improving their condition, the initiative also includes photographing dozens of the items and examining preservation methods with an eye toward potential digital use.

The value of Japanese manga works has increased both in Japan and abroad, as evidenced by Osamu Tezuka’s original drawings of “Astro Boy” fetching a high price at an auction overseas. Many such works, however, are often privately owned by their creators or surviving family members, raising concerns that works could be lost or taken outside the country.

Given such risks, the Japanese government is speeding up the development of a preservation system, which would include the government collecting original manga pieces.

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