Go Nagai isn’t worried about his artwork and museum that were destroyed in the Ishikawa earthquake, he’s worried about the people who live there.

Wajima, a small coastal town on Ishikawa Prefecture’s Noto Peninsula on the northern coast of the main island of Honshu, doesn’t have too many claims to fame. One of its biggest, though, is that it’s the birthplace of Go Nagai, the legendary and influential creator of manga/anime series including Devilman, Mazinger Z, Grendizer, and Cutie Honey.

▼ Go Nagai, whose Grendizer U anime TV series (pictured at the top of this article), a reboot of UFO Robot Grendizer, is set to premier sometime this year.

Nagai has been a superstar of the industry since the ‘70s, with his career trajectory taking him far from his sleepy hometown. Wajima is still near and dear to his heart, though, and the city is also the location of the Go Nagai Wonderland Museum, filled with artwork, character statues, and exhibits on Nagai’s works.

▼ The museum exterior, with a statue of Mazinger Z standing out front to greet fans.

Sadly, Wajima has been receiving attention for a much more tragic reason since the start of this year. The January 1 magnitude-7.6 earthquake that struck the area, along with subsequent tsunami and fires, caused widespread damage, and the museum appears to have been completely gutted by the disaster.

▼ Go Nagai Wonderland Museum, before and after the earthquake and fire

The museum has yet to completely measure the extent of the damage, but just from looking at the photos, it’s a given that multiple pieces of historically significant manga/anime artwork were destroyed. However, the loss of art isn’t bothering Nagai in the slightest, as he released a statement on January 10 through the official Twitter account of his production company, Dynamic Production, which reads:

Hearing reports and looking at images of Wajima, my hometown, and seeing how shockingly different it looks now from how I remember it, fills my heart with sadness.

I have been receiving kind messages every day from people expressing their concern after learning that the city of Wajima, and the Go Nagai Wonderland Museum, were so severely damaged in the disaster. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to you all. Thank you so much.

Regarding the museum, I believe that many of the items on display have been damaged. However, because I am a currently active manga artist, so no matter how much artwork has been lost, I can draw more. It’s really not a big deal.

What is important is for the people of Wajima, and elsewhere in the afflicted region, to be able to get back to their ordinary lives as soon as possible, and I would like to help them if I can.

With aftershocks and unpredictable days ahead, it may still be difficult to think of better times, but let’s all hang in there and get through this!

There’s no shortage of schlocky storytelling and sexy antics to be found in Nagai’s body of work, and his manga were a frequent target of complaints from parent-teacher associations in the early part of his career. Like a lot of manga artists who came up in the ‘70s, though, there’s also a frequent atmosphere of hot-blooded pathos, of refusing to buckle no matter how hard or unfair the challenges life throws at you may be. Nagai may be 78 years old, but if he has to redraw a few masterpieces, so be it, and he realizes that the people in Wajima and elsewhere who are still dealing with the aftereffects of the disaster are the ones who are truly showing their courage these days.

Source: Twitter/@Dynamicpro_info
Top image: PR Times
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