A group of Japanese lawmakers plans to submit a bill to create a national media arts to collect and preserve original editions of manga and anime cels. The primary motivation is to prevent these materials from being bought by foreign collectors.
Keiji Furuya is heading the group and says its necessary to preserve these works of art as “treasures of Japan.” The bill will be proposed on January 22, and if passed, would lead to a center being erected in or near Akihabara.
A similar bill was introduced in 2009 during former-Primer Minister Taro Aso’s administration. Opponents argued that it would be a waste of money to build a “state-run manga café” and that the Kyoto International Manga Museum already existed.
However, the Kyoto museum and similar facilities are restricted by copyright laws that prevent the digitization of celluloid materials for preservation. Furuya’s group argues that the proposed center would be a branch of the National Diet Library and would face such restrictions.
Free public access to the center’s collection, as well as national exhibitions and events will be held. The goal would be to draw foreign tourists interesting in anime and manga to the center, which could also boost Akihabara’s economy.
Furuya’s group hopes to start construction on the center as soon as possible if the bill is passed.