Tottori Conducts Press Tour on Yonago Kitaro Airport’s Renewal, Remembrance Gathering for Shigeru Mizuki
Tottori Prefecture, known as “Manga Kingdom,” held a press tour for foreign correspondents stationed in the Tokyo area on March 8 to introduce the upgraded Yonago Kitaro Airport and remember the late manga artist Shigeru Mizuki through a gathering.
During a ceremony to celebrate the renewal of the western Japan airport, new decorations based on drawings by Mizuki including the stained glass artwork “Forest of Yokai,” “Whale Airship,” an installation suspended in the air, were unveiled.
It was the first renewal of the airport since it was renamed Yonago Kitaro Airport in 2010 after the main character of manga and anime series “GeGeGe no Kitaro” by Mizuki. The airport will open a new route connecting Tottori Prefecture and Hong Kong in May or later.
“Whale Airship,” the approximately 1.8-meter high, 3.5m-wide and 1.6m-deep installation, depicts Kitaro and friends riding the airship in the sky, while the stained glass art portrays a number of yokai monsters in the forest.
The approximately 10.2-meter wide and 2.8-meter high stained glass window is made of antique handmade glass pieces and other traditional European materials which makes the artwork a fusion of Japanese manga culture and European tradition, according to the prefecture.
“I hope visitors from across the country and around the world will cherish the new art objects at the airport as well as the scenery and other charms of the area that Mr. Mizuki loved,” said Tottori Gov. Shinji Hirai.
The governor also told participants of the tour that manga and anime are Japan’s major attractions for foreign visitors and the prefecture, which is the hometown of numerous manga artists, will continue to promote the region through them, after the ceremony.
Press tour members also attended a remembrance gathering for Mizuki in Sakaiminato, his hometown, joined by his family members and friends, including renowned Japanese mystery writer Natsuhiko Kyogoku who shared his memory of Mizuki in dialogue with Mizuki’s daughter.
After the remembrance gathering, Mizuki’s wife Nunoe Mura told reporters, “I still miss him every day. Mizuki must be very happy that his works contributed to vitalizing the city of Sakaiminato.”