Japanese manga-themed manhole covers proving an unusual hit

Courtesy of Taito Ward, Tokyo
A manhole cover featuring Yatora Yaguchi, the main character of the “Blue Period” manga series

Manhole covers featuring popular manga characters are creating a stir in Tokyo’s Taito Ward.

The colorful coverings depict persona from the “Blue Period” manga series who aspire to enter Tokyo University of the Arts. The covers have been installed near the school’s rear entrance, creating a new mecca for fans of the series.

“Blue Period” is currently serialized in Gekkan Afternoon, published by Kodansha Ltd.

The lead character, high school student Yatora Yaguchi, was inspired to secure a place at the prestigious university after seeing a painting. The manga’s creator, Tsubasa Yamaguchi, graduated from the university.

Courtesy of Taito Ward, Tokyo
A manhole cover featuring Ryuji Ayukawa, a friend of the protagonist in the “Blue Period” manga series

Other locations in the ward, including Ueno Park and the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, also appear in the story.

The two manhole covers depict Yaguchi and his friend Ryuji Ayukawa, respectively. In October, the manga was adapted into an animated TV series.

As the number of foreign visitors dwindles amid the coronavirus pandemic, the ward is hopeful that the new and unusual attraction will help lure tourists to the area.

Masaaki Hirabayashi, director of the ward’s tourism division, said: “The manhole covers have garnered attention not only in Japan, but overseas, too, thanks to social media. We hope overseas manga fans will pay the covers a visit in the future.”