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New Exhibit at Epcot Explores History Behind ‘Anime’ Characters

Thomas Smith

by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Japan Gallery

Perhaps you heard, there’s a new exhibit in the Japan Pavilion at Epcot and today we’re taking a quick peek inside on The Disney Parks Blog. It’s called Spirited Beasts: From Ancient Stories to Anime Stars and as you can see from the image above, it features some pretty mysterious creatures from traditional Japanese myths and artwork. Those creatures and their stories inspired some of the most popular modern-day characters of Japan’s manga comics and anime.

Japan Gallery

And that’s what the exhibit is all about — showing the connection between the historic and the contemporary. When I popped in this week, I immediately recognized some of the Japanese characters from video games and TV shows that my children still enjoy. I think you’ll spot them too.

You’ve got plenty of time to see it. Project Manager and Show Producer Wyatt Winter expects the exhibit to be on display for several years. Just walk to the back of the Pavilion and hang a left. Oh, and please let us know what you think.


  • Aaaahhh! Now I really wish we had the money to go to Florida! I would love to see this exhibit!!

  • The small museums in World Showcase – in Mexico, Norway, China, Morocco and Japan – are the real unsung, little-known treasures of EPCOT. Thanks for giving them some coverage, and it’s good to see them get refreshed! Every pavilion could use one of these neat exhibits.

  • Did this replace the Tinker Toy exhibit or is it in another place altogether?

    • Hi Victor, this location housed the Tin Toy Stories: Made in Japan exhibit and recently the traveling photography exhibit Timeless Beauty: World Heritage Sites of Japan.

  • Two thoughts:

    1) Why aren’t these small museums on the Epcot park map? It’s like you don’t want people to see them.

    2) More rides in World Showcase please.

  • I can’t wait to see this in October! Japanese myths and Anime are two of my favorite things!~

  • This is COMPLETELY awesome.

    I have to say, I have been deeply concerned about the fate of Epcot in recent years. Losing the World of Motion and Horizons, and having them replaced by the Test Track seemed to put an emphasis on bigger, faster, flashier rides, while losing the educational aspect. As a child who loved to learn, Epcot was my favorite place in Disneyworld to slow down, and exercise my mind.

    I am really, really gratified to see that World Showcase remains a place that doesn’t only seek to entertain, but understands that education IS entertaining. For many Americans, the nation pavillions at Epcot are the closest thing to world travel they will be able to afford, and the opportunity to be exposed to so many different world cultures and thought-provoking exhibits like this one can have an invaluable effect on our future generations’ curiosity and acceptance towards other cultures.

    Congrats on the new exhibit, and I encourage Disney to continue making Epcot a place where children can learn the fun of challenging their minds and expanding their worldview.

  • 1) I would love to see a Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki museum/exhibit at the Japan Pavilion.
    2) Get Pixar to sponsor it. Especially considering the relationship between Disney & Ghibli and Lasseter & Miyazaki.

  • I like how Disney is ever evolving. Cannot wait to see it when I go in October.

  • Sounds great! Will this exhibit still be there in November?

  • Great! Will this exhibit still be there in begin April 2011? (please answer)

  • I see a big statue of a Tengu!
    I know a lot of Pokemon are based on Japanese traditional myths – Vulpix and Ninetales are based on the nine-tailed Kitsune, for example. It’s cool realizing that you’re learning about another culture without even realizing it 😉

    Hope it’s still here in October!

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