I didn’t grow up with Doraemon, so I had no idea why Japanese people adored him. Everywhere I went in Japan, there he was, cutely promoting the area’s speciality. When I taught English lessons, the kids went nuts every time I pulled out the Doraemon character card. Friends cracked jokes about Doraemon’s pocket or door, but I had no idea what they were talking about. For a while, I felt left out of this connection people seemed to have with Doraemon.
First of all, what is Doraemon? He is a round, blue robot-cat from the future, but of course, there is more to him than that. On my quest to learn more about him, I visited the Fujiko F. Fujio Museum (in Kawasaki), a place dedicated to the author and illustrator of Doraemon comics.
This museum is beautiful, and does a great job highlighting all of the author’s works. With the ticket price comes an English audio guide, which helped the author’s works come to life for me. Through the two exhibition halls, movie theater that played an original short film, reading corner with a Doraemon library, several play areas, I not only learned about Doraemon, but I came to adore him myself.
One of the exhibitions displayed some of the most beloved Doraemon comic strips written (and the English audio guide summarized all of them for me). Through this crash course, I learned why people love Doraemon, and it goes beyond just him being a cute character.
He travels to the past to be with Nobita, an awkward, unconfident, lonely elementary school boy. They bond immediately and become best of friends. Doraemon gives Nobita unconditional love, and they have countless adventures together. To help Nobita, Doraemon provides futuristic gadgets from his pocket (he can pretty much conjure up anything Nobita needs), and Doraemon continues to support Nobita, even when Nobita abuses those gadgets (which he always does).
The best thing Doraemon provides is the Doko Demo Doa (a door that can take you anywhere), and Nobita and Doraemon have the time of their lives together. The friendship isn’t one way; Nobita finds his own special ways to show appreciation for his robot friend.
When I talk to friends who grew up with Doraemon, they either say they wanted to be Doraemon when they were younger, or they felt like Nobita and wish they had a friend like Doraemon. Either way, the stories are touching and leave an impact on whoever reads them. There does come a point where Doraemon has to return to the future, and despite being sad about this, Nobita shows Doraemon that he will be all right so Doraemon won’t worry about his human best friend.
We all have to grow up some time, but those who had Doraemon in their childhood will never forget him.
Fujiko F. Fujio Museum
Address: 2-chome 8-1 Nagao, Tama-ku, Kawasaki-city, Kanagawa Prefecture
*Shuttle bus service from Noborito Station (Odakyu line or JR Nanbu line)
Entrance by reservation ONLY. Each day, entrance time is divided into quarterly time-schedule. 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00
Tickets can be purchased from the Loppi machine in Lawson convenience stores. Instructions are in Japanese only.
Doaremon is amazing i love the English dub on Disney xd
Doraemon has now come to the US! Disney bought some episodes to show on their kid’s channel 🙂
This is in Kawasaki? Damn, I was so close and never knew about it.
Doraemon has also won numerous awards I believe, from education and science councils, for the anime’s promotion of science and the realm of imagination and ideas.
I only started watching Doraemon relatively recently with my young family, and I have to agree that it’s quite special. The stories are unique and interesting, and it’s quite interesting seeing how they bring in Japanese history (the War, feudal Japan etc) and the popular culture of the time (Star Wars etc.)
I heartily recommend taking a look. Like Totoro, it’s a Japanese cultural phenomenon that’s taken root right across Asia.