The Charles Schulz Museum in California, US – a mecca for Peanuts fans – is to open its first official satellite museum on 23 April in Tokyo. The Snoopy Museum Tokyo opened its doors to the media on 21 April for a special preview of the 150 Snoop- related items, including original comic strips and vintage goods.
While this exclusive museum is the first such Snoopy collection outside the original located in California, it is temporary and will close doors in September 2018. Some items are being displayed in public for the first time, such as a colour cartoon strip Schulz penned especially for his wife. Schulz wrote: "For Jeanie, my Valentine with Love, Sparky." Sparky was Schulz's nickname.
"Well I think Japan as a culture has an appreciation for comics and that probably helped some. As a cartoonist and fan myself, I love coming to Japan and seeing the wide array of other comic characters here, but I also think there's sort of a calligraphy component to Schulz's work, his pen work, maybe an appeal to Japanese fans early on," said Paige Braddock, creative director of the Charles M Schulz Creative Association.
Snoopy, a beagle in the comic strip Peanuts, first came to life in 1950. The iconic American cartoon soon developed a global following and also in Japan. However, Braddock said while Snoopy is popular in Japan, it has to compete with other iconic characters in Japan such as Hello Kitty and Dragon Ball.
"I think a little bit of our challenge is introducing fans to Snoopy who maybe don't know Snoopy. But, once they discover Snoopy, there are universal truth in that comics that I think appeal to every generation regardless of age because the comic is not just about humour; it's about relationship, it's about failures, it's about joy, it really runs the whole range of human emotion and story-telling," she said.
Although the entry fee to the museum will cost 2,000 yen (£12.64, $18.22), it is scheduled to change its contents every 6 months to appeal to a wider range of visitors.