Robot Guts

For ten years, a spaceship has been parked in the port of tsunami-hit Ishinomaki.  The locals don`t mind though. Inside the 3 storey landmark is a museum dedicated to the works of local man, Shotaro Ishinomori, the `king of manga`.

Spaceship-designed Mangattan in Ishinomaki, June 2011.


The Mangattan Museum, as it`s called, was opened to add tourism to traditional industries of fishing and agriculture.  Unfortunately, over 5 metres of seawater raced through the first floor on March 11th and the building is still without electricity or gas.  No re-opening date has been set yet.

When it does re-open, I want to go – Ishinomori had some great ideas.  Walking outside the museum three weeks ago, I discovered a statue of Robocon – one of his most famous creations. Robocon is a loyal and spirited but brainless robot, struggling to make his way through robot school in 1970`s Japan. 

Just watching the opening credits of his 1970`s TV show, uploaded below, will charm anyone. 

Robocon proably isn`t clever enough to take over from the Short Circuit-type robots working at the Fukushima nuclear plant, but he has more guts than them.  The con in his name comes from the Japanese word konjo, meaning guts or courage.

I bought this Robocon omamori (a charm) at a special opening of a stall from the museum gift shop in Ishinomaki. The best 500 yen I ever spent.

Robocon`s statue was dirtied but not destroyed by the tsunami. His guts are still providing inspiration as you can see below in the headline image taken from the town blog.

Ishinomaki`s Town Information Site.

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