Snoopy Museum seeks to entice comic fans old and new in Japan

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[April 22, 2016]   TOKYO (Reuters) - A Snoopy Museum dedicated to the artwork of Charles M. Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip, is opening its doors in Japan.

Based in Tokyo, the temporary museum is the first official satellite of the California-based Charles M. Schulz Museum outside the United States and kicks off with a "My Favorite Peanuts" exhibition.

On display are items including original cartoons and large scale works by Schulz, whose Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus and Snoopy characters have won over legions of fans around the world, including Japan.

"Japan as a culture has an appreciation for comics and that probably helped some," Paige Braddock, creative director at Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, said.

"As a cartoonist and fan myself, I love coming to Japan and seeing the wide array of other comic characters here but I also think there's a sort of a calligraphy component to Schulz's work, his pen work that maybe appealed to Japanese fans early on."

Schulz's comic strip made its debut in 1950 and ran until Feb. 13, 2000, a day after the cartoonist died at the age of 77.

It has featured in more than 2,600 newspapers worldwide.

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While Snoopy is popular in Japan, the beagle competes with other cartoon characters such as Hello Kitty and manga heroes.

"I think a little bit of our challenge is introducing fans to Snoopy who maybe don't know Snoopy," Braddock said.

"But once they discover Snoopy, there are universal truths in the comic that I think appeal to every generation ... because the comic is not just about humor it's about relationships, it's about failures, it's about joy, it really runs the whole range of human emotion and story telling."

The Snoopy Museum Tokyo opens to the public on Saturday and will close its doors in September 2018.

(Reporting By Reuters Television in Tokyo; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London)

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