- Go Nagai, the renowned mangaka, has used his platform to provide comfort and positivity to the people of his hometown, Wajima, which was severely impacted by the recent earthquake in Japan.
- Despite the destruction of his museum and potentially many of his original artworks, Nagai remains optimistic and states that as an active manga artist, he can always create more artwork.
- Nagai’s focus is on the well-being of the people of Wajima and aiding in their recovery, rather than dwelling on the loss of his own work.
January 1st, 2024 saw one of the most devastating earthquakes in recent Japanese history – the most damaging and powerful one since the famous Tohoku Earthquake in 2011. At 7.6 in magnitude, the earthquake caused a lot of structural damage, along with loss of life and injury. While it is easy to get depressed just thinking about the situation, one mangaka is using his voice to encourage and comfort.
This mangaka is Go Nagai, the legend behind manga such as Devilman, Grendizer, Cutie Honey, and Mazinger Z. He is also the writer behind the upcoming anime Grendizer U, which is a reboot of the classic UFO Robot Grendizer. The anime is set to premier later in 2024. His manga are especially famous in Japan because they were often a point of contention in schools and caused a lot of parent-teacher conferences due to some of the content in manga that often drew the attention of children.
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If you are wondering what Go Nagai has to do with the January 1st earthquake, we are getting there. The earthquake was in a part of Japan that few people outside the country (and not so many inside it as well) have ever heard of. The epicenter was near the town of Wajima on the Noto Penninsula of Ishikawa Prefecture, on Japan’s Western coast. While Wajima is not famous for much, it is famous for one thing – it is the birthplace of Go Nagai, the creator of Grendizer!
While his incredible career took the mangaka far from his humble beginnings in a small hometown, Wajima does have a museum dedicated to his work. The Go Nagai Wonderland Museum is one of the most famous places to visit in Wajima, and was full of original arwork, character statues, and more creations by Nagai. It was also a small way to try to draw tourists and their money to such an isolated part of Japan.
However, the earthquake on January 1st destroyed most of the museum, and of course, its contents as well. While the full extent of the damage has not yet been assessed, it doesn’t look good. More than likely most, if not all, of Nagai’s original art in the manga museum has been destroyed, and the building itself is not faring much better. A lot of history and artwork has sadly been lost, destroyed along with many other things in the town of Wajima.
Rather than complain, though, Go Nagai has offered words of comfort and positivity for the people of his hometown. Last week, he made a post on his production company’s X page, Dynamic Production. As translated by SoraNews24, the statement from Nagai says,
Hearing reports and looking at images of Wajima, my hometown, and seeing how shockingly different it looks now from how I remember it, fills my heart with sadness.
I have been receiving kind messages every day from people expressing their concern after learning that the city of Wajima, and the Go Nagai Wonderland Museum, were so severely damaged in the disaster. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to you all. Thank you so much.
Regarding the museum, I believe that many of the items on display have been damaged. However, because I am a currently active manga artist, so no matter how much artwork has been lost, I can draw more. It’s really not a big deal.
What is important is for the people of Wajima, and elsewhere in the afflicted region, to be able to get back to their ordinary lives as soon as possible, and I would like to help them if I can.
With aftershocks and unpredictable days ahead, it may still be difficult to think of better times, but let’s all hang in there and get through this!
Quite literally, Go Nagai said that no matter how much of his artwork was destroyed, he can always draw more. That is quite inspirational from a 78-year old! Nagai has refocused everyone’s attention on the people of Wajima who have lost so much and are suffering right now, rather than on his museum and anything related to his work that may have been lost. Our thoughts are also with all of those affected by the devastating earthquake, both in Wajima and beyond.
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