This summer Japan House London will present a two-month exhibition on the popular Japanese art form, manga, through the work of internationally acclaimed manga artist, URASAWA Naoki.
Hugely popular in Japan where they make up over 20% of all publications sold, manga refer to what are commonly known as comics in the UK. Not just for children, manga feature unique characters, complex storylines and cover a broad range of genres. The ‘This is MANGA – the Art of URASAWA NAOKI’ exhibition (5 June – 28 July 2019) at Japan House will provide an immersive encounter with this popular art form through focusing on the work of much-loved artist Urasawa Naoki.
Since his professional debut in 1983, Urasawa has engaged readers with dynamic storytelling and sophisticated characters that explore the hopes, dreams, and underlying fears of humanity. With hit titles spanning the genres of sport, comedy, mystery, and science fiction, his drawing style is famous for innovative compositional techniques and bold black and white panels.
Urasawa’s international breakthrough came in the mid-1990s with the release of the mystery ‘MONSTER’, about a Japanese surgeon living in Germany. Since then sales of his works have reached over 127 million books in Japan alone, with titles published in more than 20 countries.
At the heart of this success is his passion for manga and resolve as an artist. In an industry that has become increasingly global, Urasawa continues to retain his unique style, personal devotion to his craft, and the integrity of his ideals to reflect an uncompromising view of the human condition. He skillfully weaves social context and detailed cultural settings into his stories to help illustrate how overarching social and historical forces influence the actions of his characters.
This retrospective exhibition will introduce Urasawa’s ideas from inception through development, with more than 400 original drawings and storyboards on display. Selected stories from seven of his major works will be presented, highlighting the breadth of the artist’s narrative styles.
Through changing displays four consecutive stories from YAWARA! will be presented over the course of the exhibition, one story every two weeks, encouraging visitors to return again and again to experience the work in the weekly serial style of many Japanese comic anthologies. This rare opportunity to enjoy Urasawa’s manga directly from his original hand-drawn storyboards offers a unique glimpse into the artist’s process and psyche.
The exhibition will introduce those new to manga to the iconic Japanese art form, exploring the fusion of story and artwork that originally evolved from picture book styles developed in the late 19th century, and the modern influences behind Urasawa’s work. Japan House will give a comprehensive look into the art of Urasawa Naoki, providing an invaluable opportunity to gain insight into the worldview and unmatched brilliance of an artist beloved across the globe.
‘This is MANGA – the Art of URASAWA NAOKI’ is open to the public at Japan House London from 5 June to 28 July 2019. Admission FREE.
Japan House Manga Collaboration with the British Museum
To celebrate the manga-themed exhibitions taking place at Japan House and The British Museum this summer, Japan House is collaborating with the museum on a programme of related events. Japan House will host a pop-up sake bar at a special season of Studio Ghibli film screenings, including the Friday Late 'Manga: colour and style' on 5 July. On 29 June Japan House hosts a symposium ‘Classical Arts x Digital Technologies’, relating to the ‘Yokai Kabuki Theatre Curtain’ from Waseda University’s Theatre Museum, featured in The British Museum’s Manga exhibition.
Manga at The Shop
To coincide with the manga exhibition season, The Shop at Japan House has a variety of manga classics available, including many of Urasawa’s best-known works such as ‘Pluto’, ‘Monster’ and ‘20th Century Boys’. Several titles will reflect the LGBT+ manga being showcased in the Library between 22 May – 31 August. On top of this, The Shop is stocking a collection of Urasawa Naoki manga-related stationery - including a wide range of postcards, t-shirts, face towels, canvas art and tote bags.
A Taste of the Exhibition at Akira
Akira restaurant has taken inspiration from Urasawa Naoki’s ‘YAWARA!’ series to design a new dish to coincide with the ‘This is MANGA – the Art of URASAWA NAOKI’ exhibition. The offering is a twist on the British classic of fish and chips, with deep fried, bread-crumbed eel topped with umeboshi (pickled plum) tartare sauce, lime and egg yolk shavings and served with okra fries. The accompanying exhibition-themed cocktail, MONSTER, is inspired by Urasawa’s mystery manga series of the same name. The psychological thriller revolves around the life of a Japanese surgeon and is set in Germany and the Czech Republic. The Monster Cocktail is made with Dewa no Sato sake from Yamagata Prefecture, Czech spirit Becherovka, ginger liqueur, peppercorns, lime juice, fresh ginger and cloves topped with a white chocolate liqueur foam sprinkled with matcha.