• Noto Peninsula Earthquake

“Mazinger Z” “Devilman” Creator Go Nagai’s Museum Among Fire-Destroyed Buildings; Had Been Chosen as Top Travel Destination For Anime Lovers

The Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Go Nagai Wonderland Museum is seen on the right in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, in February 2019.

A museum dedicated to famous mangaka Go Nagai, whose popular works include “Mazinger Z” and “Devilman,” was among the about 200 buildings destroyed in a quake-triggered fire in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Jan. 1 and 2.

The Go Nagai Wonderland Museum faced Asaichi-dori avenue, one of the Okunoto region’s most popular tourist attractions for its lively morning market. The street in central Wajima suffered tremendous losses in the fire that broke out as a result of the Noto Peninsula Earthquake.

Fans and related parties have been saddened by the loss of the museum that honored the achievements of Nagai, who hails from Wajima. Many of his manga have been adapted into successful animated works.

The museum opened in 2009 and was planning to hold a special event this year to commemorate its 15th anniversary. Nagai is the honorary director.

Converted from a branch of a trust bank, the two-story museum was designed to look both traditional and modern to match the surrounding environment. A 2-meter-tall Mazinger Z statue, one-ninth the actual size, was a popular exhibit at the museum, which also housed valuable drawings by Nagai and figures of many of his characters.

Popular with fans, the museum was selected as one of 88 places for anime lovers to visit by the Anime Tourism Association. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, about 15,000 people visited annually.

“Communications were cut off following the quake, so we had no way to get information about the devastation of Asaichi-dori,” said a member of the city’s tourist board. “The Go Nagai Wonderland Museum and many other tourist attractions in Wajima were all lost.”

In central Wajima, established Wajima-nuri lacquerware shops, sake breweries and souvenir shops were also destroyed or damaged by the fire.