Tokyo’s Nakano Ward opens anime academy

Translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.

An abandoned elementary school in Tokyo’s Nakano Ward is now being used to foster aspiring manga and anime artists, as well as performers in theater, music, stand-up comedy and dance, ward officials said.

The Nakano Manga Art Court opened on Oct. 1 at the site of the Momogaoka Elementary School, which was closed down in 2008. Ward officials said they had been considering ways to make full use of the old school site since fiscal 2010.

Nakano Ward is home to a number of anime production companies, as are the neighboring wards of Suginami and Nerima.

Vocational school operator Taiken Academies was commissioned to operate the Manga and Art Court to make full use of the expertise and vitality in the private sector.

The academy’s main operations include offering education and personnel training programs, promoting and supporting manga culture, holding various events and making contributions to local communities, according to the officials.

As part of the educational and personnel training programs, the Manga Art Court will set up a facility dedicated to classes for students preparing for high school proficiency exams and interviews. In addition, the facility will provide programs for aspiring creators of manga, anime and music.

The academy will also add courses for students seeking careers in voice acting and theater.

To help promote and support manga culture, the academy will open an art and culture gallery that will feature panels showing the manga production process. The gallery is also intended to support young manga artists by publicizing their works and attracting potential employers.

To contribute to local communities, an exchange center for locals will be set up at the facility.

The academy plans to hold several events, including the Nakano Manga Art Contest, which was held to solicit and honor manga works from various genres.

The Nakano Nigiwai Festa 2011, scheduled for Oct. 9-10 in the ward, will also celebrate the opening of the Nakano Manga and Art Court. The award-giving ceremony of the manga and art contest will be held on Oct. 9.

Veteran manga artist Takao Saito, creator of “Golgo 13,” serves as chair of the jury panel for the contest.

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