Shigeru Mizuki Museum and Road, Sakaiminato, Tottori Prefecture, JAPAN
(10-15 min. walk from JR Sakaiminato Station; 3-1/2 hours from Hiroshima or Osaka)
Photos copyright © March 2006 Kat Avila
map of Sakaiminato map from the Sakaiminato Guide Book
for Sight Seeing
[sic], © 2005 by the city
Kitarou and Daddy Eyeball
Kitarō holds Medama Oyaji (Daddy Eyeball) in his palm.
(Photo was snapped after a light rain.)
Born March 8, 1922, Shigeru Mizuki (birth name Shigeru Mura) is best known for his drawings of yōkai (nature spirits and demons). This is especially amazing when you think he had to retrain himself to draw with his right hand (he was a lefty) after his left arm was blown off during a World War II air raid in Papua New Guinea. Besides his best-known manga GeGeGe no Kitarō, he has drawn other manga such as Akuma-kun (Devil Boy), Kappa no Sanpei (Sanpei the Kappa) (source: Amano, Manga Design, p. 488), and NonNonBā. He has received a number of awards, including Shiju Hosho Decoration (1991), Minister of Education Award (1996), Kyokujitu Sho Decoration (2003) (source: Sakaiminato Guide Book for Sight Seeing [sic]), and Best Comic (2007) for NonNonBā, the first manga to be the overall winner at France's prestigious Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême.

GeGeGe no Kitarō used to be called Hakaba no Kitarō (Kitaro of the Graveyard). Kitarō was raised by the reanimated eyeball of his late father, and he grows up helping humans against evil monsters. Mizuki's stories were first drawn as kami-shibai, which before TV came along were picture card shows narrated by a storyteller who sold candy to the listeners. Later, the stories moved into rental (kashi-hon) manga, then into boys' (shōnen) comic magazines and animation (Natsuhiko Kyogaku, afterword to GeGeGe-no-Kitarō, by Shigeru Mizuki, trans. Ralph F. McCarthy, [Tokyo: Kodansha, 2002]). A live action movie opened April 28, 2007, and a second live action movie came out on July 12, 2008 (source: IMDb - Internet Movie Database).

As you walk along Shigeru Mizuki Road, you might see costumed GeGeGe no Kitarō characters up and about. Take a picture with them. (Don't be shy like I was.) They also can be found at the Shigeru Mizuki Museum.

The museum itself is small but fun. Photos are not allowed in the yōkai part of the museum, except in the outside courtyard garden and in a room where there are photo ops with character cutouts. One room displays Shigeru Mizuki's collection of souvenirs from his travels around the world.

If I were to revisit the natural port city of Sakaiminato where Shigeru Mizuki Road is, I would stay at least one night there to better enjoy the statues and to relax in the hot springs. According to a Sakaiminato sightseeing pamphlet, there is the historical/cultural Sea and Life Museum housed in a former sake brewery not far from the Shigeru Mizuki Museum. At Shofukuji Temple near City Hall, there is a bronze statue of Shigeru Mizuki, as well as a painting titled Hell and Paradise that aroused the manga artist's interest in yōkai as a boy. Then, I would buy something made from the region's traditional indigo-blue kasuri fabric.

Links last reviewed: August 7, 2009

Official Information
Sakaiminato Guide for Sight Seeing [sic]. (in English)
Sakaiminato Information Office for Tourists. Tel. 0859-47-0121.
Shigeru Mizuki official Web site. (in Japanese only)
Shigeru Mizuki Museum. (in Japanese only)
Shigeru Mizuki Road yōkai list. (In Japanese only; use Google Translate.)
Shigeru Mizuki's Yōkai World. (in Japanese only)
Yonago Airport general information office. Tel. 0859-45-6123.

Additional Links
"My Travelogue Manga of Japan (Sans Drawings)," by Kat Avila, Sequential Tart, May 2006, 30 March 2006 entry:
From the train window, I see snow falling. SNOW?! … In Sakaiminato, on the west coast of Japan, there is a road dedicated to Shigeru Mizuki, the creator of the supernatural manga GeGeGe-no-Kitarō. I remember watching the anime as a child. There are 100 bronze statues of "yōkai" (nature spirits) from the manga within the city. At a related museum, which is very entertaining, a kind staff lady snaps my picture in the garden with deep pink "sakura" blossoms behind me (a weeping willow-type of cherry tree).

"Demon of a cartoonist: Fallen war comrades inspire my work" by Kenji Furudate. Orig. pub. Shukan Asahi magazine, Asahi Shimbun, July 1, 2002.
"Drawing on Experience" (Shigeru Mizuki interview), The Japan Times, February 6, 2005.
"Enduring anime reveals Japan's ghoulish spirit: 'Gegege no Kitaro' turns 40," The Japan Times, April 17, 2008.
Gegege no Kitarō anime, list of TV seasons and movies at Anime News Network.
"GeGeGe no Kitaro Live-Action Sequel to Open in Summer," Anime News Network, January 7, 2008.
NonNonBa manga review, The Comics Reporter, April 5, 2007.
Oji-san Jake's blog "More Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan," yōkai galleries of Shigeru Mizuki Road, May 25, 2009.
"Shigeru Mizuki's Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro" by Yutaka Yamada. Anthropology of Anime and Manga website, "Science Fiction and Horror Manga Classics."
museum flyer

museum layout
museum layout
on back of flyer

museum brochure and ticket
museum brochure & ticket

back of museum brochure
Shigeru Mizuki photo
on back of brochure

sidewalk tile
yōkai sidewalk tile

sidewalk tile
sidewalk tile with Kitarō and
Ittan Momen (Rollo Cloth)
Yonago Railway Station where you board the train to Sakaiminato
youkai boards
sandwich boards
featuring yōkai
youkai boards
sandwich boards
featuring yōkai
youkai boards
sandwich boards
featuring yōkai
kitsune (fox)
stairs with picture of Kitaro
stairs with picture of
Kitarō and Medama Oyaji
(Daddy Eyeball)
train in distance
train in the distance
front of train
front of train

Its headlights are clones of
Medama Oyaji (Daddy Eyeball).
rear of train
rear of train
side of train from rear
side of train from rear
ceiling of train
ceiling of train
vending machine with Ratman
Nezumi-otoko (Ratman)
on vending machine
train sign platform
That's Ittan Momen (Rollo Cloth) flying overhead.
Kitarō has a nobori (festival banner) in his hand.
platform youkai map
"Japan Goblin Yokai" (JR map title)
Sakaiminato Railway Station where you get off
station entrance
entrance to station
from platform
station sculpture
Shigeru Mizuki
with Daddy Eyeball,
Ratman, & Kitarō
outside the train station.
station sculpture
Shigeru Mizuki
with Ratman,
Daddy Eyeball, & Kitarō
outside the train station.
station sculpture
Sanpei the Kappa
from Kappa no Sanpei,
kappa (L), & tanuki (BR).
Kitarō and Medama
(Daddy Eyeball)
on the mailbox
Shigeru Mizuki Road starting from the train station
tourist guide map
Tottori Tourist Guide Map

The information is on a
reflective surface, which
reverses the sky & ground.
original drawing
by Shigeru Mizuki
bakezōri (sandal spook),
© 1995, on a base
of black granite

When sandals reach the age
of 100, they become bakezōri.
tofu shop boy
Tōfu kozō (tofu shop boy)
offers a block of tofu on
a tray to passersby. To the
right of him is a neckless,
bodiless giant's face (ōkamuro).
tsurube otoshi
Tsurube otoshi
(fast-dropping) drop
from tall trees with
loud laughter to scare
travelers at night.
art wall
negative-space sculpture
road marker
Mizuki Shigeru Road
(in Japanese name order)

The speed limit is on the
left since the Japanese drive
up on that side of the road.
(long-necked monster)
(long-necked monster)
doro-ta bou
doro-ta bō
(muddy rice-field boy)

"Give me back my rice fields!
Give me back my rice fields!"
mourns this yōkai for the
land he worked so hard on
when he was human.
Kitarō at Taisho River
with Medama Oyaji (Daddy
Eyeball) in his hand
Kitarō at Taisho River
with Medama Oyaji (Daddy
Eyeball) in his hand
Nezumi-otoko (Ratman)
at Taisho River
Nezumi-otoko (Ratman)
at Taisho River
helpful beast of burden
barbershop with Ittan Momen
(Rollo Cloth) and Kitarō
ryū (dragon)
Ryūjin is the dragon
that rules the ocean.
pillow youkai
Makura kaeshi
(pillow return) holds
a pillow in its hands.
bakezōri (sandal spook)
toy masks
GeGeGe no Kitarō
toy masks in store window