TOKYO – Yoshikawa Eiji Memorial Museum, the former home of author Eiji Yoshikawa whose various popular works include the samurai epic “Musashi”, sees an increase in the number of young female visitors thanks to a new exhibition in association with a popular online game which uses famous literary figures as characters.
The museum, based in Ome, a suburb of Tokyo, has teamed up with “Bungo to Alchemist” by DMM Games, which roughly translates to “literary masters and alchemists” and is commonly referred to as the contraction “BunAl”. In the game, historical literary giants are reborn to protect the world of books from destruction by “shinshokusha”, loosely translating into invaders. The players control the characters in the battles. There are over 70 characters, each including Eiji Yoshikawa, portrayed as attractive men.
This summer, the museum prepared an exhibit featuring handwritten documents belonging to Yoshikawa and the Ome municipal government. To appeal to a younger audience as well, the museum set its sights on the BunAl portrayal of Yoshikawa and other literary stars with whom he had a personal relationship and made a request for cooperation from the game’s distributor, the main one. developer DMM Games, which is part of Exnoa LLC.
In the hall where the exhibition is held, there are panels of the game version of Yoshikawa, as well as other authors with whom he was known to have been friends, including Kan Kikuchi, Yasunari Kawabata and Saisei Muro. Further inside the exhibition space, photographs and handwritten letters between Yoshikawa and Kikuchi are on display, and visitors can also observe Yoshikawa’s handwritten pieces up close.
The Ome municipal government received a donation from the incorporated public benefit foundation that owned the museum, and it reopened in September 2020. The municipal government culture department said that during a normal month , the museum received around 300 visitors, the majority of whom were men. their 50s and 60s who know Yoshikawa’s handwriting. But since the collaboration began in July, attendance has more than doubled to around 700 people per month, half of which are believed to be women and girls aged 10 to 39.
The head of the cultural section said, âMr. Yoshikawa’s works have been filmed and turned into manga, and we hope to continue to host such kind of collaborative exhibitions in the future.
The exhibition will run until October 3. It is not open on September 21 and 27. You can inquire at the museum at 0428-74-9477 (in Japanese).
(Japanese original by Masamitsu Kurokawa, Tama Bureau)