The Japan Foundation, Cairo
I had often heard that Japanese anime series Mazinger Z and Grandizer were very popular in the Arab world. That was why we invited Mr. Go Nagai, the creator of both series, to hold lectures and demonstrations to give first-hand opportunities for the audience in Egypt to meet the creator.
In his tour of three countries: Jordan, Kuwait, and Egypt in mid-October, Mr. Nagai told the audience how he created his works and why his anime series won international popularity. In addition, one of the latest episodes of new Mazinger series "Shin Mazinger Shogeki Z-hen" (True Mazinger Impact! Z Chapter) was shown with Arabic subtitles.
In Cairo, a public lecture was held on October 13 and a lecture demonstration for cartoonists and animation-related specialists on October 14. Both events attracted the audience that vastly outnumbered the capacity of the venue; for the latter in particular, the hall was overflowing with around 100 people. Some fans even followed Mr. Nagai's tour through Jordan and Kuwait. Their enthusiasm for the creator was far greater than we expected: when the lecture was concluded, Mr. Nagai was surrounded by many youngsters who asked him for comments on their drawings or to take pictures with them.
In his lectures, Mr. Nagai emphasized that only a creator who lives in the country and has an in-depth knowledge of its history and culture can produce memorable characters and stories for many people. Taking an example of Golden Bat, the dominant superhero in post-war Japan, he hoped that the creators in Egypt would create their own superheroes, that is to say, Egyptian version of Golden Bat and Mazinger Z. His encouragement must have taken root in the heart of future creators in this country.