Hamanaka: Town Of Monkey Punch

“This is a treasure for all mankind. Too big for my pocket, anyway.”
Lupin III

Hamanaka is the hometown of Lupin III

I got interested with Hamanaka town of Hokkaido when I saw a brochure about the town with the photos of the famous anime Lupin III. Hamanaka is a town located in Akkeshi District, Kushiro Subprefecture. The town is famous as it is the birthplace of Kazuhiko Kato, more famous with his pen name Monkey Punch. And if you love manga or anime, you know that he is best known for his series Lupin III. The Lupin III manga first appeared in Weekly Manga Action on August 10, 1967.

Monkey Punch was born in Hamanaka on May 26, 1937.

Lupin III is about the adventures of the master thief Arsene Lupin III, the grandson of the character from the novel series of Maurice Leblanc. There was a previous problem on the intellectual property of the French novelist regarding the use of the main character from Leblanc’s novels. It was renamed as “Rupan” or “Wolf” for international release. In France, Lupin III is called Edgar de la Cambriole. However, the copyright has expired and Lupin is now retained in the title.

Inspector Zenigata and Lupin III statues.

Monkey Punch gave homage to his hometown by making it the same birthplace for the main characters of the series, Arsene Lupin III and Fujiko Mine. So there are many places in Hamanaka Town with figures and photos of the anime’s characters.

Lupin III bus.
Lupin III taxi cab.

I am not a big fan of this anime but the place is interesting. There was a cab and a bus with Lupin III designs. There was even houses with fake signages belonging to the characters.

Me sitting in front of the Pub Fujiko.
Jigen’s Bar
Kiritappu Theater

If Inspector Koichi Zenigata visits Hamanaka, it would be easy for him to spot the master thief.

I spotted Lupin III at the train station.

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