Explore the history and global appeal of manga in the largest exhibition of the art form ever held outside of Japan.
Manga are Japanese comic books or graphic novels with a twist, serialised in magazines and read by a global audience. A multi-billion-pound business that embraces anime and gaming, manga are a global phenomenon and have forged a new international visual language.
This exhibition brings to life the art of manga, looking at how it emerged in Japan and grew to be a worldwide cultural phenomenon. It explores manga’s enduring appeal and cultural crossover, showcasing original Japanese manga and its enormous influence, from anime to gaming to ‘cosplay’ performance art. From earlier forms such as the comic or dramatic designs by famous Japanese artists Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889) and others through to the 21st century, today there is indeed a manga for everyone.
Featuring unprecedented loans from across Japan, the exhibition enables visitors to enter a rendering of the oldest surviving manga bookshop in Tokyo, go inside the artists’ world, meet the manga editors and be ‘manga-fied’ in a special photo booth. The exhibition also explores manga fandom through big conventions such as Comiket and the World Cosplay summit, immersing visitors in the experience of one of these events, as well as providing an opportunity to try on a costume and share via their own photos.
One of the most exciting objects travelling to the UK is the Shintomiza Kabuki Theatre Curtain. At 17 metres long and four metres high, this giant curtain was originally made to be displayed between acts at the Shintomiza kabuki theatre. Created in 1880 by the painter Kawanabe Kyōsai, the curtain features painted demons and ghosts which emerge from the interplay of lines and colours, leaping out and blurring the worlds of reality and fantasy, as in much of Kyōsai’s art and the printed manga books he produced. Due to the delicate nature of this incredible object, this will be the last time it will travel outside Japan.