Peruse Magazines from All around the World at Tokyo Metropolitan Tama Library

The Tokyo Metropolitan Tama Library, often referred to as the "Tokyo Magazine Bank" due to its extensive collection of magazine titles, houses around 19,000 general and academic journals. Additionally, the library plays a significant role in fostering a reading culture among children in the city.
230704_TOKYO UPDATES_驛ス遶句、壽束蝗ウ譖ク鬢ィ蜿匁攝_譛ャ逕サ蜒・_MRE4066.jpg
The Tokyo Metropolitan Tama Library is located in Kokubunji City, an area of abundant greenery, in the western part of Tokyo. The shelves along the walls are lined with foreign magazines.

Japanese and Foreign Magazines Alike

The library, which has a bright and open-concept design, moved to its current location in Kokubunji City in 2017. The chairs in the library face the windows so that visitors can admire the greenery around the building while getting in their reading. The reading rooms and open shelves contain approximately 6,000 Japanese and foreign magazines, from the latest issues to back issues from the past year. The highlight of the library is the foreign magazine section, which features approximately 400 magazines in 12 languages, from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. It can be fun just to look at the photos and designs, even if visitors cannot read the magazines themselves. The library also offers a full selection of local magazines from across the country, which provide access to highly localized information that can be difficult to obtain in other libraries in Tokyo.

Another highlight of the library is the "Collection of Inaugural Magazine Issues," a collection of the very first issues of many Japanese magazines. The collection contains the inaugural issues of approximately 8,300 magazines published from 1877 to the present day, arranged in chronological order, and is valuable in that it provides a bird's-eye view of the evolution of Japanese popular culture.

The magazines in the enormous "Collection of Inaugural Magazine Issues" are stored in chronological order, and are available for perusal in the reading rooms by request.

The exhibition area of the library regularly features special exhibitions that give visitors a glimpse into the immense archives of the "Tokyo Magazine Bank". The library also has an initiative called "Tokyo Magazine Bank College," the goal of which is to utilize the magazines in the collection to create a hub for learning and social activity. The events hosted through this initiative have become a platform for people who love magazines to socialize with one another.

230704_TOKYO UPDATES_驛ス遶句、壽束蝗ウ譖ク鬢ィ蜿匁攝_譛ャ逕サ蜒・_MRE4045.jpg
"The Charm of Freight Trains," a wall display for the 50th anniversary of the Musashino Line, a railroad that passes nearby. *Held from May 12 to July 5 in 2023.

Picture Books and Children's Books from around the World

The Kids' Area features approximately 13,000 books for children, including picture/story books, books for learning, and foreign children's books. This section of the library is designed in such a way as to encourage children to choose their own books, with shelves at children's eye level, and even a special computer that they can use to search for books. The Picture Book Room, which allows people to take off their shoes, is particularly popular, as it offers a place for parents with infants and toddlers to relax.

There is also a section of accessible books for children with special needs, called the "Apple Shelf." This effort, which began in a library in Sweden in 1993, has now spread to various countries across the world. The exhibition area regularly features special exhibitions of books for children/young adults, which allow visitors to experience the magical world of children's books.

230704_TOKYO UPDATES_驛ス遶句、壽束蝗ウ譖ク鬢ィ蜿匁攝_譛ャ逕サ蜒・_MRE4100.jpg
The Apple Shelf features cloth picture books and Braille picture books, as well as LL books edited with easy-to-understand sentences and emoji to make them more accessible, and more.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Tama Library features an immensely enticing collection for magazine lovers, and is great for families who want to spend some time reading and relaxing. The library also hosts various exhibitions and other events based on the magazines and books in its collection. Come visit and take a peek at books and magazines from all around the world.

230704_TOKYO UPDATES_驛ス遶句、壽束蝗ウ譖ク鬢ィ蜿匁攝_譛ャ逕サ蜒・appearance_tama_1MB.jpg
Photo: Tokyo Metropolitan Tama Library, Photo courtesy of Tokyo Metropolitan Library

Tokyo Metropolitan Tama Library
*Library stock is current as of March 31, 2022
Interview and writing by Ando Nahoko
Photos by Sakaki Mirei
Translation by Amitt