Born in 1949 in Kanagawa Prefecture, TAKANO Yukio was in his late twenties when a chance discovery in a used bookstore reunited him with some of the 1950s manga he had been so fond of as a schoolboy. He began combing second-hand bookstores and book fairs in Tokyo and Yokohama for old manga, and today has well over 30,000 volumes in his possession. In 2005, at age 56, he left his hometown of Yokohama and moved to the town of Tadami in Fukushima Prefecture. There he refurbished an abandoned former church and nursery school built in 1955. In April 2006 he reopened it as Showa Manga Library AOMUSHI, which houses some 20,000 volumes?primarily rental manga, lowcost akahon (“red book”) manga, and out-of-print manga from the 1950s to mid-60s. He continues to run the library today in this sparsely populated snow country, a location he chose for its remoteness because he insists on keeping his collection in open stacks.
TAKANO Yukio moved by himself to Tadami, Fukushima, purchased a shuttered wooden church (and nursery school), and in 2006 opened AOMUSHI, his own private manga library. The shelves are lined with rarities like the Shueisha omoshiro manga bunko (Shueisha Funny Manga Library) series and rental manga from the 1950s that cannot be found in the manga libraries of Tokyo or Kyoto. Without any outside funding, TAKANO has now been operating his library for over ten years, closing only in the winter months due to the region’s heavy snows. Today avid manga scholars converge on Tadami, many staying over to peruse the collection. TAKANO also holds workshops in collaboration with NAGANO Noriko, a manga artist active in the Fukushima recovery movement. There is no more deserving recipient of the Special Achievement Award. (MINAMOTO Taro)