A Western-style house in Tokyo originally built in the 1880s in the Meiji Era opened Friday as a manga gallery following efforts by famous manga artists to restore and renovate it.

The former residence of Theodora Ozaki, a London-born translator of Japanese works into English, will be used to introduce manga culture as a result of the efforts of the artists, including Kazumi Yamashita and Rumiko Takahashi.

Yamashita, known for "Tensai Yanagisawa Kyoju no Seikatsu" (the life of genius professor Yanagisawa), launched the preservation project after a proposal was made in 2019 to demolish the residence in Setagaya Ward due to aging.

She garnered support through crowd funding and from other popular manga artists including Takahashi, known for "Urusei Yatsura" and "Inuyasha," and Tatsuo Nitta, the author of "Shizukanaru Don" (The quiet don).

(From 2nd from L) Manga artists Norifusa Mita, Kazumi Yamashita, Nami Saso and Tatsuo Nitta take part in the grand opening of the renovated former residence of Theodora Ozaki in Tokyo on March 1, 2024. (Kyodo)

"We would not have been able to get here without everyone's help," said Yamashita at the opening ceremony. "I hope this manga-themed residence stays standing for another 100, 200 years."

The residence will be used to host exhibitions, starting with a charity event to display original illustrations by 38 manga artists including Moto Hagio and Ryoko Yamagishi.

Their works will be available for auction both in person or online from Friday through March 12, with the proceeds used to restore the building.

It houses a cafe and a shop to sell manga-related goods on the first floor and a gallery space on the second floor that will be open to visitors with reservations.

"I was especially excited to see the works of Rumiko Takahashi and Tatsuo Nitta," said Yoshimitsu Nishimata, a manga fan who came to visit from Chiba Prefecture, adding he had learned about the residence and the exhibition from Yamashita's social media posts.

The original building is said to have been built in 1888 by politician Saburo Ozaki for his daughter Theodora.

She later married the politician Yukio Ozaki, called the "god of constitutional politics," who is also known for sending cherry blossom trees to Washington.

The works of the late Jun Mihara will be exhibited from March 15 through April 9.

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