For many centuries, manga (Japanese comics) has been at the heart of Japanese pop culture. Literally translated as whimsical drawings, these works are published for the entertainment of the general masses, reflecting different aspects of the Japanese people’s psyche by tackling diverse themes – from kawaii to sports, from romance to science fiction. It appeals to the young and old alike. Hence, these comic books are easily accessible everywhere – at every bookstore and even convenience stores, especially in big cities like Tokyo.
With the manga reaching some level of popularity overseas, it is likewise being translated into English and other languages to serve the foreign market. However, its distribution is still rather limited and there are only a handful of shops that carry these translated versions in their lineup. In case you want to browse through these copies, the big bookstores in Tokyo is where you should go. Here’s a list of places to go crazy over English manga shopping.
1. Books Kinokuniya Tokyo
This Takashimaya branch of the famous bookstore chain Kinokuniya is considered to be the best place in the city to shop for not just English manga, but foreign books in general. It has an entire floor solely dedicated for copies in English and several other languages like French and German, and far as English manga titles are concerned, this bookstore’s selection is the most extensive you can find in Tokyo. Additionally, some popular titles are even available as bilingual comics. It is the perfect purchase for readers who want to learn the Japanese language in a fun and immersive way.
Address: 6F Takashimaya Times Square South Building, 5-24-2 Sendagaya Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Website: https://www.kinokuniya.co.jp/c/store/Books-Kinokuniya-Tokyo/ (Japanese only)
2. Kinokuniya Shinjuku Honten
There are two Kinokuniya bookstores in Shinjuku, and this one is the chain’s main branch. It is a massive shop with eleven floors total, but despite its size, the Takashimaya branch is still regarded to have a better collection of foreign language materials. However, if you’re on a hunt for mainstream English manga titles, then this branch’s offerings should suffice. Head to the building’s 7th floor to start shopping for Naruto, Slam Dunk, Doraemon, One Piece, Sailor Moon, and the like.
Address: 3 Chome-17-7 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Website: https://www.kinokuniya.co.jp/c/store/Shinjuku-Main-Store/ (Japanese only)
3. Kinokuniya Seibu Shibuya
Kinokuniya also has a branch in Shibuya. It is located on the first floor of Seibu, a popular department store within the vicinity of the popular Center Gai area; and similar to Shinjuku Honten, its English manga selection here is a treasure trove for fans of popular series.
Address: 1F Seibu Shibuya 21-1 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Website: https://www.kinokuniya.co.jp/c/store/Seibu-Shibuya-Store/ (Japanese only)
4. Maruzen & Junkudo Shibuya
When two bookstore giants join forces, book lovers win. Maruzen is Japan’s oldest Western bookshop and its second largest bookstore chain (next to Kinokuniya), whereas Junkudo is another well-established retailer whose stand-alone store in Ikebukuro is the largest in the city. There are several Maruzen & Junkudo collaboration stores in Japan, and this one in Tokyo occupies the whole 7th floor of the fashionable Tokyu Department Store. The English section is comprehensive with its offering. Aside from translated manga, it boasts of literary classics and bestsellers, as well as an interesting collection of art and design titles.
Address: 7F Tokyu Department Store 2-24-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Website: https://www.tokyu-dept.co.jp/honten/shop/detail.html/?shopcode=maruzenjunkudo (Japanese only)
5. Maruzen Honten
This is Maruzen’s flagship store located in the Oazo shopping complex beside Tokyo Station. It’s a super convenient shop especially if you’re planning to buy a book to accompany you on your Shinkansen ride out of town. The entire 4th floor is dedicated to English language materials, and the manga collection is pretty solid. The title listing range from mainstream hits to new releases.
Address: 1-4F Oazo Shops & Restaurants 1-6-4 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
6. Tsutaya Shibuya
Tsutaya is that building on one end of the famous Shibuya crossing. Before getting lost in Center Gai and its network of crisscrossing alleys, do drop by this building to check out this haven for Japanese pop culture content. There are books, comics, DVD’s, music, games, and related merchandise. The building’s B1 Floor host the published media like manga. It also has a café area to lounge at should you want to enjoy a drink as you read.
Address: B1F 21-6 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Website: http://store-tsutaya.tsite.jp/storelocator/detail/2312.html (Japanese only)
7. Yaesu Book Center
Yaesu Book Center is another massive bookshop to spend hours of scouring books while in the vicinity of Tokyo Station. It is an eight story building, where the 7th floor occupies the foreign language section. While its forte is on academic and non-fiction books, its collection of content for other genres like manga is still dependable. And like in Tsutaya, this book heaven has an in-house café perfect for a lazy afternoon hangout.
Address: 2-5-1 Yaesu, Chuo, Tokyo
Website: http://www.yaesu-book.co.jp/ (Japanese only)
Thumbnail image is from Flickr.