Iconic Japan cartoon cat gets his own museum

Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:29am EDT
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TOKYO (Reuters) - He's a small, blue robot cat from the future who's been the inspiration for an animated TV series, served as Japan's cartoon cultural ambassador and is beloved around the world.

Now, the iconic Doraemon has his own museum on the outskirts of Tokyo -- though he shares the space with his creator, Fujiko F. Fujio.

The museum collection features 50,000 items, many of which are original drawings, as well as a desk and other things used by Fujio until his death in 1996. The museum building also includes a small theater and coffeeshop.

Sent back in time to help a hapless schoolboy named Nobita save himself from a life of failure, and his descendants from a life of misery, Doraemon often uses gadgets from the future to solve Nobita's problems. Many episodes of the animated version feature lessons about moral values.

"I personally believe that the very fact that children from all over the world read and enjoy Doraemon is a testament to the fact that children are children no matter where they are," said Fujio's widow, Masako Fujimoto.

The Doraemon cartoon series is translated into over 30 languages and remains popular in many nations. Doraemon was selected as a cartoon cultural ambassador for Japan in 2008.

Although Fujio is best known for Doraemon, the museum also showcases other works including "Obake no Q-taro," about a mischievous ghost.

The museum opens to the public on Sept 3.

(Reporting by Shunsuke Ide; editing by Elaine Lies)

<p>The "Doraemon" hot air balloon piloted by Hedaaki Ito of Japan floats over Malaysia's landmark Putra Perdana, the office of the Prime Minister, in the capital of Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur March 17, 2011. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad</p>