Plastic model museum opens in Shizuoka

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

A new museum, Shizuoka Hobby Square, opened June 11 at Southpot Shizuoka building near the south exit of JR Shizuoka Station.

Products from Japan’s six leading plastic model makers are on display in the permanent exhibition section.

Shizuoka, the prefectural capital, became the center of attention among hobbyists when the Shizuoka Hobby Fair was held from last summer to this spring. It featured an 18-meter statue of the Mobile Suit Gundam robot relocated from Tokyo’s Odaiba district.

The new museum continues the spirit of the fair.

Shizuoka is home to numerous plastic model makers. The city’s modeling history dates back to the prewar period during which wood models were produced.

The majority of plastic model kits produced in Japan are from Shizuoka Prefecture. Shizuoka also hosts the annual Shizuoka Hobby Show, a world-leading hobby confab, which held its 50th fair this year.

By setting up Shizuoka Hobby Square, local officials say they hope to make the city the plastic model capital of the world.

Displayed in the permanent exhibition section are plastic and wood models manufactured by leading companies, including Tamiya Inc., Hasegawa Corp., Aoshima Bunka Kyozai Co., MMP Co. and Woody JOE Co.

There is also a collection of traditional arts and crafts, offering a brief history of model production in the prefecture.

In another section dedicated to special events, an exhibition featuring the works of diorama artist Takuji Yamada will be held from opening day until July 18.

Another exhibition devoted to war photographer Yoichi Watanabe and paper craft artist Takashi Ota will be held from July 21 to Aug. 21.

It will be followed by an exhibition Aug. 24 to Sept. 19 featuring works of illustrator Shigeru Komatsuzaki, whose art was featured on the packages of many plastic models.

To celebrate the opening of the museum, plastic models and other goodies were given to the first 200 junior high school students or younger children who visited on the first two days.

Visit (www.hobbysquare.jp) and (www.hobby-shizuoka.jp).

Copyright The Asahi Shimbun Company.