We had a taster for the main event earlier in the year at Japan House with the work of Manga artist URASAWA Naoki, in some ways a microcosm of the world of Manga in advance of the fascinating exhibition at the British Museum.
The British Museum has been collecting examples of Manga art over the past few decades, many of which are included in this amazing explosion of Manga art from the 19th century to the present day which blows apart our European preconceptions.
Starting with links to Alice of Wonderland, the centrepiece is Hoshino Yukinobu’s ‘Museum Adventure’ from 2011, set in the British Museum with, nearby, the Shintomi theatre stage curtain by Kawanabe Kyosaifrom 1880 depicting ‘The Night Procession of a Thousand Demons’.
Well planned, with different themes, the exhibition explains the history and art of Manga and how it is such an integral part of Japanese culture, remaining bang up to date with current issues of the time such as gay love and sports anticipating the Rugby World Cup (2019) and the Tokyo Olympics (2020), while percolating into different aspects of Japanese life including board games, sculptures, video and digital works and, crucially, still supporting the traditional book industry of Japan, where bookshops still thrive, full of an ever-increasing number of Manga editions.
As you can expect, the exhibition, now running into its final weeks, was very busy, particularly with younger visitors – a win for the Museum.