““THE Stonehenge megaliths have been stolen!?” So exclaims Professor Munakata at the outset of a rollicking adventure set at the British Museum, in the form of a manga, or Japanese cartoon. Over the past five months, readers of Big Comic, a Japanese fortnightly magazine, have followed the exploits of the fictitious ethnographer as he gets embroiled in a bizarre plot to force the repatriation of the museum’s prized objects.
 
“The strip, called “The Case Records of Professor Munakata”, was introduced 15 years ago by Yukinobu Hoshino, one of Japan’s most notable manga artists. Portly, bald and impeccably dressed with cap, cape and cane, the professor is Japan’s anti-Indiana Jones. He does not invite danger but bumbles into it. The strip does not follow any set formula but takes on serious issues.

“Mr Hoshino trained in classical Japanese painting, but abandoned it for his love of manga (which means “pictures run amok”). He has produced works on history and folklore as well as science fiction. Like his medium, his method combines the old and the new: he draws with a traditional Japanese brush dipped in ink, but adds occasional colour on a Mac.
 
“In the current adventure Professor Munakata is the first to realise that the stolen megaliths are pawns for the return of the British Museum’s controversial treasures, such as the Elgin marbles which Greece has long been demanding. He uncovers a French plot to infiltrate the museum and snatch the Rosetta Stone (the ancient artefact that provides the key to Egyptian hieroglyphs) in order to return it not to Egypt but to France, which first discovered and translated it. Eventually, it is Professor Munakata’s “reverse pyramid” strategy that prevents the megaliths from being dumped atop the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral from a blimp.
 
 “The first two episodes of “Professor Munakata’s British Museum Adventure”, in Japanese, are on display at the British Museum until October 23rd. The complete series will be published in English by the British Museum Press in March 2011.”
 

More here – http://www.economist.com/node/16886045?story_id=16886045&fsrc=rss

See also – http://scatteredheritage.blogspot.com/ with its take on real and imagined heritage loss!