Tensai Bakabon turns 40

The Suginami Animation Museum celebrates the anniversary of Fujio Akatsuka’s popular manga characters.

poster for

"Fujio Akatsuka & Funny Friends" Exhibition

at Suginami Animation Museum
in the Musashino, Tama area
This event has ended - (2007-08-28 - 2007-11-25)

In Reviews by Melaney Lee 2007-10-16

Tensai Bakabon is a manga series created by Fujio Akatsuka in 1967. Debuting on television in 1971, it enjoyed three reincarnations in 1975, 1990, and 1999. The series features the escapades of mischievous Bakabon, Papa, Mama and child prodigy little brother Hajime-chan. With the series reaching its fortieth anniversary there is no doubting the popularity of this series, and in celebration the Suginami Animation Museum is holding the “Fujio Akatsuka & Funny Friends” exhibition.

Despite the grandiosity of the momentous anniversary, visitors should be aware the event is contained within the confines of the museum’s hallway, in between the anime library and the special viewing room. The most prominent figure in this modest exhibit is the big brass statue of Papa doing a hand stand. Heading further into the room, visitors are greeted by a huge picture of the creator dressed up as Papa, manga panels, billboards of the characters and a timeline of the author’s biography.

The exhibit also offers a diverse range of items on display, including samples of products created in conjunction with the series, such as lunch boxes and toys, and a tiny replica of the famous Tokiwa apartment where Akatsuka and other famous manga artists like Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astroboy and Kimba the White Lion, lived. If interactivity is what you’re after, there is a small workshop where you can use guides to trace their favorite characters from Tensai. For hard-core fans, there is a notebook where visitors can write a personal note to Akatsuka.


While there is a lot historical material and background information given about the series and its creator, unfortunately it is only in Japanese, so if this is a problem, it’s a good idea to go with a like-minded friend who can translate. Additionally the free admission and the attraction of the museum’s permanent exhibits, together with its anime library, theater and workshop, make traveling to this museum on the west side of Tokyo bearable, but it is probably safer to say the event is better suited to the real Tensai Bakabon fans, japanimation lovers, or people who are already in the area and want to kill time.

Melaney Lee

Melaney Lee. Born in 1979 in Chicago. Graduated with a BA in East Asian Languages and Cultures and a BS in Management Information Systems from UIUC. Melaney moved to Tokyo in December 2006 for a two year international assignment for work. Growing up by Art Institute of Chicago allowed her to appreciate different styles from Renaissance to Post Modern art and to see famous works such as American Gothic and A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte up close and personal. Self-described as an observer of life, Melaney enjoys different forms of human expression that include music, arts, and the occasional book. » See other writings

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