- 3 Chome-29-5 Kamiogi, Suginami, Tokyo
- Distance from Station:
- 16 minutes from JR Nishi-Ogikubo Station, 18 minutes on foot or 5 minutes by bus from JR Ogikubo Station
- 03-3396-1510 (Japanese only. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org instead)
- 10am - 6pm (enter by 5:30pm). Closed Mondays and New Year's Holiday Season, also the day after a national holiday and other occasions (check the website)
- https://sam.or.jp/english_home (external link)
- Staff speak Japanese only. Audio guides available in other languages.
TOKYO POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY SUGINAMI ANIMATION MUSEUM
Soak Up the History and Atmosphere of Japanese Animation
[updated January 2023]
What brings most foreigners to Japan nowadays? Japanese animation (or Anime)! If you still don’t know much about it, or if you want to test your expertise, the Tokyo Polytechnic University Suginami Animation Museum is a must-go for you.
The Museum has three floors. Take the elevator to the third floor (the entry floor) and you will find a popular spot: a round wall-of-fame, with hand drawn art from our favorite artists. Take your time to find yours.
The permanent exhibition shows the History of Anime. We were lucky to talk with the Director of the Museum, who explained to us that the creation of the Anime style has two key points. First, Osamu Tezuka, the “God” of Japanese comics was very successful with his animated series, therefore his works, which are based not on gags but on stories, influenced all the production that happened after him. Second, due to the budget and staff shortage, artists had to elaborate a way of making the most of a lesser amount of drawings per scene. Therefore engaging stories and economical production became the trademark of the Japanese Animation that would influence even Walt Disney Studios later on. Check this and more at the big animation timeline wall on the same floor.
The third floor also shows how Anime is made, from old techniques like phenakistoscope, zoetrope, and praxinoscope (find out what are these strangely named machines at the museum) to digital techniques. You can try your hand at digital workshops drawing or coloring anime. There’s also a booth of afureko (short term for after-recording). Usually anime is first drawn then dubbed, so here you can become the voice of Astro Boy or another character in a short clip from the animated series! Special workshops are held from time to time on the fifth floor as well. Check the museum’s event calendar!
If you are not in a hands-on mood, check the library on the fourth floor. There you can sit and relax, enjoying its rich collection watching DVDs or reading books on anime. It’s definitively the kind of place that you can stay for hours and lose track of time, so beware not to forget your schedule!
Special exhibitions are also held on the fourth floor, featuring famous artists’ legacy or celebrating special dates. Another really great thing about the Museum is that it is run by the Japan Animation Association, which means that it has access to artworks from several different creators, where other animation museums only have the licensing to show from one creator.
Special screenings are held at the museum’s theater, featuring rare-to-find classical anime movies and talk events with directors, reviewers, and other professionals from the field.
Over 70 anime studios are located in Suginami ward, and the Suginami Animation Museum was built to show to you the best of their production, as well as that of other studios’. In addition, the museum is free admission. If you are a fan of Japanese pop culture, or just curious to know more about what’s so attractive about Anime, no matter your age, the Suginami Animation Museum is a goldmine for you. Recently the museum features English audio guides and free wi-fi!
Location and Access: The Tokyo Polytechnic University Suginami Animation Museum is situated between JR/Tokyo Metro Ogikubo Station and JR Nishi-Ogikubo Station. It’s about a 16 minute walk from Nishi-Ogikubo Station, or you can easily take a bus from Ogikubo Station. Take the Kanto bus (any destination) from the No.0 bus stop and get off at Ogikubo-Keisatsusho-mae. It takes approximately 5 minutes.
Photographer: M. Shiga