Whoever is born in the year of he fire horse (1966) in Japan, knows about the impact of superstition on society. In that year, birth rates dropped dramatically: Girls born in that period were foretold a severe destiny. The Japanese believe in prophecies – and ghosts, which is why ghosts are important characters also in folklore and manga. You meet many of them personally on a trip to Sakaiminato, the home of manga veteran Mizuki Shigeru. Already at the train station, we observe the master among his beloved yōkai (hobgoblins).
Hundreds of bronze figurines line up on the way from the station to the Mizuki Shigeru kinenkan (museum). Already on the train from Yonago, you can enjoy the announcements by his main hero gegege no Kitarō. Nezumi-otoko (rat boy) and neko-musume (cat girl) accompany us through the shops on the Mizuki Shigeru Road. Finally you learn, how Kitarō’s father came to live as a eye-with-limbs, and check out the master’s splendid collection of ethnological masks, tools, and souvenirs. Mizuki-sensei used to travel a lot, and he is still actively drawing today, at the age of 91… Respect!
In front of the museum, we meet the master with his grandmother, who obviously introduced him to the world of fairies, ghosts, and fantasy. Most of his oeuvres are on sale inside, including his famous piece on the German dictator Adolf Hitler. On your way back enjoy a fresh khaki or a rāmen soup of local recipe.
From Yonago, it is only two hours by train to Tottori, the home of manga artist Taniguchi Jirō, author of the time travel story Haruka na machi e (Quartier Lointain). There is no museum yet, but you can climb the biggest sand dune of Japan and enjoy the view on the Japanese West Coast! This is when you will definitely write your first haiku …