The new Manga book about the British Museum  (& also involving the Parthenon Marbles) has now been published in English.
The British Museum: marbles, murals… and manga!
Meet Professor Munakata, the crime-fighting archaeologist who saves one of London’s best-loved institutions from looters
Sunday 14 August 2011 19.59 BST
With its crumbling pillars and fading frescoes, the British Museum isn’t the first thing you’d associate with Japanese graphic novels. So it’s a slight surprise to learn that the museum will soon publish its own manga-based book.
Professor Munakata’s British Museum Adventure was serialised last year in Japan and has now been now translated into English. Its star – a portly ethnographer-cum-archaeologist who solves crimes and explains civilisations – is already well known to millions of Japanese readers, who follow his exploits in a series of Hoshino Yukinobu-penned comics. Hoshino’s work is blend of science fiction and thriller, layered with a rich mix of western and Asian myth and history.
If that sounds a bit like Look and Learn, there are pages in the book that seem exactly so, as the professor elaborates on real events, artefacts and characters.
Munakata is also well-versed in the debate surrounding disputed objects such as the Parthenon marbles, the Rosetta stone, and the Benin bronzes. Meanwhile, the Lewis chessmen are key players in the story.
Munakata is against repatriating these objects, praising the British Museum’s history of collecting, and fostering public access. “I am one of many Japanese scholars,” he says, “who have benefited from that generosity.”
Other parts of the story are less cerebral. With Tintin-like sleuthing, the professor foils a bomb threat at St Paul’s Cathedral with megaliths hoisted from Stonehenge. At the British Museum he defeats a looter bent on destruction with a bulldozer.
“Last night we needed Batman,” went a much-forwarded tweet during the London riots. “This morning we need The Wombles.” Batman? What we really need is Professor Munakata.