Getting gleefully lost in the manga world in Tottori

|     Naoko Sato     |

TOTTORI, Japan (The Japan News/ANN) – A detective. Ghoulish yokai. Gourmet dining.

What prefecture has these three disparate items in common?

Welcome to Tottori, the prefecture that produced Gosho Aoyama, 55, creator of the popular manga Meitantei Conan (Detective Conan); Shigeru Mizuki (1922-2015), of yokai manga GeGeGe no Kitaro fame; and Jiro Taniguchi (1947-2017), creator of Kodoku no Gurume (The Lonely Gourmet).

It’s no surprise that manga fans from across Japan and around the world flock to the prefecture commonly referred to as the Manga Kingdom.

JR Yura Station, an entry point for Aoyama’s birthplace of Hokuei town, has a sign declaring it “Conan Station.” In front of the sign, young and old alike stop by a statue of Conan Edogawa, the main character of Detective Conan.

Striking the same pose as the young detective – pointing with his right index finger- they utter his famous line, “There is always only one truth!” and gleefully take photos.

The 1.5-kilometre Conan Street connects the station with the Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory, a museum where original Conan cels and other memorabilia are displayed.

There, another statue of Conan stands next to statues of characters including frequent antagonist Kaito Kid. Everywhere one looks, someone is taking a photo with their favourite character.

“I’ve loved Conan since I was little, so I’ve always thought about coming here,” said Koharu Arie, 14, a second-year junior high schooler from Kama, Fukuoka Prefecture, who was visiting with her family.

“I want to take loads of photos,” she said.

A fan strikes the same pose as Detective Conan while taking a photo with a statue of him in front of JR Yura Station in Hokuei, Tottori Prefecture. – PHOTOS: THE JAPAN NEWS/ANN
Nezumi-Otoko (Ratman) is one of the many characters sometimes seen on the Mizuki Shigeru Road in Sakaiminato, Tottori Prefecture