Disney bringing Doraemon to US TV sets

The popular Japanese manga character Doraemon will make his debut on a US TV series next month.

Doraemon is a robot cat who travels back in time from the future to help a schoolboy in today’s world.

A TV channel operated by the US entertainment giant Walt Disney will start broadcasting the Doraemon show on July 7th.

The story will be set in an imaginary place in the United States and its contents will be adapted to US customs and culture. The characters will use forks, instead of chopsticks.


Doraemon gets his own museum!

He’s a small, blue robot cat from the future who’s been the inspiration for an animated TV series, served as Japan’s cartoon cultural ambassador and is beloved around the world.

Now, the iconic Doraemon has his own museum on the outskirts of Tokyo — though he shares the space with his creator, Fujiko F. Fujio.

The museum collection features 50,000 items, many of which are original drawings, as well as a desk and other things used by Fujio until his death in 1996. The museum building also includes a small theater and coffeeshop.

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Doraemon’s ‘secret tools’ exposed in Osaka exhibit

An exhibition in Osaka, western Japan, is giving visitors a chance to see real-life renderings of inventions and gadgets featured in the popular comic and animated series "Doraemon."

In the long-running series, the titular cat-shaped robot from the 22nd century uses a variety of devices dubbed "secret tools" to help Nobita, a schoolboy in present-day Tokyo.

Among the displays in the event running through Aug. 31 at the Shin Umeda City district near JR Osaka Station is a single-seat helicopter, said to be one of the smallest in the world, inspired by Doraemon’s head-mounted "Takecopter" flying kit, albeit not quite as small.

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Fujiko Fujio, Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko the creators behind Doraemon

Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko were both from Toyama, Japan. Fujimoto was born on December 1, 1933 and Abiko on March 10, 1934. In 1944, when they were both elementary school students, Abiko transferred to Fujimoto’s school and they found they both liked drawing. After entering junior high school, they remained friends although they went to different schools. While they were junior high school students (1946–1948), they were excited by a comic book written by Osamu Tezuka, Shin Takarajima (New Treasure Island). They published their own manga coterie magazines. They were also impressed by Tezuka’s Lost World and Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and they wrote fan letters to them. When they became high school students, they started writing manga for the readers’ columns of various publishers. They made their debut in Tenshi no Tama-chan. They earned money from this, so they visited Tezuka’s house in Takarazuka, Hyōgo, before they graduated from high school.

Because both Fujimoto and Abiko were both eldest sons, they decided to take company jobs after graduating from high school in 1952. Fujimoto joined a confectionery company, and Abiko began working for a local newspaper publisher. However, Fujimoto quickly quit the job because of injury. Abiko managed to be consistent with manga. While Abiko was working for the company, Fujimoto took a central role in contributing serial manga. At this time, their pen name was Ashizuka Fujio. In 1953 they published Utopia: The Last World War (UTOPIA—最後の世界大戦 UTOPIA: Saigo no Sekai Taisen). The next year (1954), they decided to go to Tokyo in order to become professional manga artists. They formed a mangaka group called New Manga Party (新漫画党 Shin Manga-to, the first period, 1954–1955; the second period, 1955–?) with Terada Hiroo and others. At first, Fujimoto and Abiko lodged at Ryōgoku; however, afterwards they moved to an apartment of Tokiwa-so where Hiroo lived.

They continued to draw manga day after day. A lot of editors of manga publishers visited and asked Fujiko Fujio to write serial manga. They became a popular mangaka. However, they lost their job during 1955 through the early 1956 because at the New Year of 1955 they returned home to Toyama, and they relaxed so much that they missed the deadlines of nearly all their manga. After this, they only barely recovered their credibility. In 1959, they left Tokiwa-so, and moved to Usagi-so, and then to Kawasaki, Kanagawa. Fujimoto got married in 1962 (at the age of 28). The next year, Fujiko Fujio received the Shogakukan Manga Award for their manga Susume Robot and Tebukuro Tecchan.

Fujimoto and Abiko established Studio Zero with Shin’ichi Suzuki, Shotaro Ishinomori, Jiro Tsunoda, Kiyoichi Tsunoda, and one employee. Later Fujio Akatsuka joined, and at its peak the studio employed about 80 people. They produced several animated films, for example, Astro Boy. Fujiko Fujio revived their popularity as mangaka again with Obake no Q-tarō in 1964. Both of them continued to write popular manga and anime, for example Ninja Hattori-kun, Kaibutsu-kun, Pāman, 21-emon, etc.

Fujimoto started writing Doraemon in 1970, and at the same time he started writing complete manga for young people. Doraemon at first did not attract children’s attention very much. However, three years later, Doraemon became an animated series on TV, and he became a popular character nationwide. Fujimoto was awarded a prize for Doraemon by Nihon Mangaka Association in 1973. On the other hand, Abiko wrote Black Salesman (later re-entitled Warau Salesman), autobiographical Manga-michi, etc. Abiko’s manga were aimed at young adults (Seinen) while Fujimoto’s were aimed at children (Kodomo). In spite of the enormous popularity in Asian countries, none of their works have ever been officially introduced to any English-speaking countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand.

Both Fujimoto and Abiko did however, travel the world. Abiko wrote manga about Mao Zedong based on a trip to China. A lot of trips helped Fujimoto to write manga, especially T.P. Bon.

In 1987, Fujimoto and Abiko ended their partnership, and after that, they worked independently.

From 1980 until his death in 23 September 1996 due to liver failure, Fujimoto wrote a series of long manga of Doraemon every year. The manga series were animated on the screen, and every year the animated films were a gold mine for the movie industry. In 1989, Fujimoto won two awards for Doraemon movies. Abiko’s Hattori the Ninja and Pro Golfer Saru were also animated with Doraemon on the screen.

What is DORAEMON? It is a humorous children’s manga (later a TV-series) about a boy named Nobi Nobita who is so unlucky, weak and lazy that his descendants had to send the family robot back in time to help him out. That robot is Doraemon (where the “Dora” is presumably based on the word “dora-neko,” or stray cat), and his four-dimensional pocket produces any number of futuristic gadgets and devices meant to help Nobita become something other than a complete failure in adulthood. Though smart and caring, Doraemon has his own foibles, and his partnership with Nobita produces both triumphs and disasters, hilarious situations and occasional poignant moments.

As a “gag” manga for children, the series has no real progression; our hero is always a fourth-grader, and rarely do changes carry over from story to story. As a glimpse into Japanese family life, though, DORAEMON is priceless. We see Nobita’s parents as very typical for Japan of the 1970s, with the father a stocky and mellow salaryman, and the mother a hardworking housewife whose job it is to make sure Nobita studies hard and does his chores. Although ferocious when angry, she is also caring and smart; at heart she just wants her son to grow up to become a decent, hardworking adult with a bright future. Nobita’s friends include the class bully nicknamed Gian (presumably based on the word “giant”), the class rich kid Suneo who usually acts as Gian’s lieutenant, the gentle and smart girl Shizuka and the occasionally appearing super-brilliant Dekisugi (which can be read as “over done” or “overly perfect”). There’s also their schoolteacher, a stern man who has no compunction against sending Nobita off to stand in the hallway for being late. In all this, Doraemon acts as the childhood friend or older sibling we all wish we could’ve had: caring, smarter than us, with a sense of justice, imperfect and fallible enough to not be irritating, and with a magic pocket that can produce the solution to any problem.

Countdown to Fujiko F. Fujio’s Doraemon Museum begins

A countdown signboard was set up at a railway station in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, in early September to begin counting down the days until the opening a year from now of a museum dedicated to the creator of the "Doraemon" and "Perman" cartoon series, which have proved popular with children in Japan and abroad.

The signboard was installed on a monument featuring the "Wherever Door" — a Doraemon tool that can take you anywhere you want — at JR Noborito Station near the museum site.

The Fujiko F. Fujio Museum is scheduled to open in September 2011 and feature around 50,000 of his original drawings, along with a desk and other items he used up until his death in 1996.

Read the rest of the story:Countdown to Doraemon museum opening begins.

Fly with Doraemon on JAL

Their stocks are plunging and they are preparing to file for bankruptcy, but that’s not stopping the struggling Japan Airlines (JAL) from offering travelers the opportunity to fly with Doraemon, the beloved cartoon gadget-cat from the future.

According to a press release on the company website, JAL will begin operating the “Doraemon Jet” — a Boeing 777-300 decorated with large colorful images of Doraemon characters — on domestic routes (mainly between Tokyo Haneda, Sapporo, Itami, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Okinawa) beginning in mid-February.

The anime-themed aircraft is the result of a joint effort between JAL and the creators of the Doraemon movies to promote this year’s annual Doraemon film, Doraemon The Movie: Nobita’s Great Battle of the Mermaid King (a.k.a. Doraemon The Legend), which will hit theaters on March 6. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Doraemon movie franchise.


In addition to operating the Doraemon Jet, JAL will be offering Doraemon-themed tours to Okinawa from February 15 through April 30 with daily departures from Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Kitakyushu. The carrier will also provide a selection of Doraemon entertainment on domestic and international flights, as well as a Doraemon kids’ corner at airports and limited-edition Doraemon goods through their in-flight catalog.

Story: pinktentacle and JAL press release

Yoshito Usui, creator of Crayon Shin-chan is Missing!!!

Yoshito Usui, the comic book writer of “Crayon Shin-chan” disappeared on September 11th, and his family requested the police to start a search for him in Kasukabe in Saitama on the 12th. The police are now looking for him and hope to find him soon.

His comic book, “Crayon Shin-chan” has been serialized in the comic magazine, “Weekly Manga Action.” It has been very popular and became a TV animation that comes on every Friday night after “Doraemon” in Japan. His works have also become movies such as “The Secret Treasure of Buri Buri Kingdom”, “Unkokusai’s Ambition” , and “Otakebe! Kasukabe Animal Kingdom.”

Below is a picture of Yoshito Usui. He is pictured on the right.


Update: Yoshito Usui told his family he would go for a mountain hike in Gunma Prefecture. He hikes often alone, and may be in danger. There is fear of an accident.

9/19/09 — Update: A body has been found at the bottom of a cliff near the mountain area suspected to be where Yoshito Usui went for hiking. The area is hard to reach and a party will go out in the morning to identity the body.

9/20/09 — Update: 35 policemen have left on the search to recover the still unidentified body. We will have more information as it develops.

9/20/09 — Update: Sadly it has been confirmed that the body was in fact, Yoshito Usui.