If you grew up speaking English, it is very likely that the Peanuts comic strip was a staple in your childhood and you must have been an avid reader of it. Illustrated by Charles M Schulz, the Peanuts comic series has been renowned as the greatest and most influential comic strips in history. Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Woodstock and friends are characters familiar to those who have read the comic strip. Similarly in Japan, the fact that these comic strips were written in English has not stopped the adorable Snoopy from growing on Japanese audiences. With its gaining popularity, the Snoopy Museum opened in Tokyo in April, 2016.
Photo: Phillip Lai on Flickr
Snoopy Museum, Tokyo is located in Roppongi, a 10-minute walk from the Tokyo Metro Azabu Juban station. Amidst embassies, the surroundings of the museum is tranquil and beautiful, though one has to climb up a rather steep slope to get to the museum. Before I knew it, I was standing right in front of the Snoopy Museum, gazing at the adorable Snoopy statues lined up at the entrance. The statues depict the changes Snoopy had undergone in illustrations of the comic from its inauguration to its later years. I never knew that Snoopy was illustrated to be much more like a real beagle in the early years of the comic series, indeed an interesting fact to learn!
Entering the museum was an experience in itself, greeted by the security guard at the entrance, and warmly welcomed at the counter by the staff who exchanged my Lawson ticket with a museum ticket which had a comic strip printed on it. All excited, I entered the exhibition gallery.
Most of the museum prohibits photo and video taking. The first exhibit – a huge mosaic wall of Peanuts comic strips forming an image of Charlie Brown with Snoopy – stunned me. The entire image was made up of individual comic strips, and there were just way too many for me, to read each of them!
The next section was a short video-welcome revolving around the theme of “My Favourite Peanuts”, the opening theme of the exhibition from 23rd April until 25th September, 2016. In the video, various Japanese celebrities as well as Charles Schulz’s wife, Jean Schulz described their favourite Peanuts comic strip.
The subsequent galleries displayed a range of content – original illustrated comic strips (which are changed every 6 months), Charles Schulz’s earlier works, Peanuts animation, small Peanuts character figurines, and vintage products. While the gallery was slightly smaller than I had expected, they were comparable in size to other Japanese museums such as the Ghibli Museum as well as the Fujio F Fujiko Museum.
In fact, the gift store itself seemed to rival the size of the galleries, something not entirely unsurprising given the Japanese love for gift giving. All sorts of merchandise were available – Snoopy stuffed toys, Snoopy tote bags, postcards, handkerchiefs, comic strips, pins, and even peanut butter (get the pun?). Each merchandise was intricate and beautifully designed, making it really hard to decide what to buy!
The last section of the Snoopy Museum was dedicated to Café Blanket, the café named after Linus’ security blanket. Serving pancakes, sandwiches, and milkshakes adorned with the faces of Peanuts characters; the food would be yet another photo opportunity!
Tickets to the Snoopy Museum can be purchased at Lawson convenience stores. More information on ticket prices and exhibit details can be found on the official website.