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Exhibition on history of Taiwan's rental bookstores and manga to kick off in Japan

  • Date:2022-11-26~2023-01-22
Exhibition on history of Taiwan's rental bookstores and manga to kick off in Japan

From Nov. 26 to Jan. 22, 2023, an exhibition focusing on the century-old history of Taiwan's rental bookstores and manga will be held at the Kitakyushu Manga Museum in Japan.

Supported by the Taiwan Cultural Center in Japan, the exhibition is jointly organized by the National Museum of Taiwan History and Kitakyushu Manga Museum, providing historical materials related to the genres of comics produced, published, and read at the time. The exhibition of historical materials and videos will present the similarities and differences between Taiwan and Japan and also show the development of contemporary Taiwanese manga culture.

According to a curator of the Kitakyushu Manga Museum, rental bookstores played a major role in the popularization of Japanese manga. The business of book lending in Japan started in the Edo period; and in the past, rental bookstores were everywhere in Kitakyushu. Even during the period of time when resources were scarce, rental bookstores continued to flourish, as reading was a hobby enjoyed by children and adults. However, ever since Japan achieved impressive high economic growth in the 1960s, the number of rental bookstores decreased. After the 2000s, rental bookstores in Japan are a rare sight.

In Taiwan, rental bookstores began in 1895 during the Japanese colonial era and trace a similar history to that of Japan. After World War II, rental bookstores in Taiwan not only provides Japanese manga for borrowing, but also offer Renkanga (Chinese manga-style comics) which are brought over from Shanghai, China. During the period, Taiwanese original manga magazines were also being published. In the 1960s, the Japanese manga market was filled with pirated copies. After the Copyright Regulations were amended in 1992, the original books began to circulate, and the number of manga works by Taiwanese artists also increased.