TETSUJIN 28: Guardian of Kobe
“Life Size” Statue of Giant Robot in Creator’s Hometown
Author: Daisuke Ishizuka
Official Site: Kobe Tetsujin Project (Japan)
TETSUJIN 28-GO (Tetsujin Nijyu-Hachi-Go) is a popular robot comic (launched 1956) and animation TV series (1963) created by Mr. Mitsuteru Yokoyama. The animated series was aired in America as the English dubbed GIGANTOR (1966).
Mr. Yokoyama was born in Kobe in 1934, and died at the of age of 69 in 1995. His works include Giant Robo (adapted as the live action series JOHNNY SOKKO AND HIS FLYING ROBOT), Babel II, Princess Comet (Comet-san) and Kamen no Ninjya Akakage (adapted several times, including the 2001 movie RED SHADOW). Tetsujin is considered to be his masterpiece. The character has become a beloved figure in Japan, starring in several animated series as well as a 2005 live action film. Imagi Studios, the animation house behind the CG films TMNT and ASTRO BOY, has produced test footage for a potential computer animated TETSUJIN 28 movie.
The Kobe area was hit by the Great Hanshin earthquake on January 17th, 1995. Nearly 6,500 people were killed and 300,000 lost their homes. As the 15th anniversary of the tragedy draws near, a full scale, 18 meter (59 foot) tall statue of Tetsujin has been built in Kobe as a symbol of the city’s revival and as a guardian from future disasters.
Plans for the Tetsujin monument were launched in 2006 by the Kobe Tetsujin Project, a non-profit group made up of local businesses. The project’s ¥135,000,000 yen (approximately $1.6 million US) construction expenses were paid for by the city, Kobe area businesses, and private donations. The statue was completed this past September 29th. The opening ceremony was held in Wakamatsu Park on October 4th.
Around the park there are some outdoor lights shaped like Tetsujin’s head. The Tetsujin statue is lighted up from dark until 9:30pm. It is an enjoyable atmosphere at night.
Honoring Mitsuteru Yokoyama’s roots in Kobe, Mayor Tatsuo Yada decided to officially accept Tetsujin as a Kobe citizen. Citizenship was granted at a ceremony held Sunday, November 28th (Japan time).
The full scale Tetsujin is really dynamic, powerful and cool.
Visiting the Tetsujin statue from Osaka
-Go from Osaka Station to Kobe Station by express train on the JR line.
-Change to a local train at Kobe Station and get off at Shin-Nagata Station.
-Tetsujin is about five minutes by foot from Shin-Nagata Station.
You can get a Tetsujin Press Japanese language “newspaper” which is printed with a map of the Shin-Nagata area.