The British Museum’s manga exhibit, which runs from May 23 until September 26, 2019 will have a number of firsts. This exhibition, called the Citi Exhibition Manga features around 70 manga and more than 50 artists, which makes it the biggest ever manga collection outside of Japan. This will be the first exhibition devoted to Japan in the museum’s prestigious Sainsbury Exhibition Galleries. It will also mark the inaugural British Museum exhibition centered on live artists.
The exhibition also coincides with the moment that the show’s curator Nicole Coolidge Rusmaniere refers to as the “Japan moment.” As it will be taking place in the lead-up towards the Rugby World Cup in Japan this year, and also the Olympics as well as the Paralympics in Tokyo in 2020 The exhibition will also be an opening event for the Japan-UK Cultural Season 2019-20.
The exhibition is targeted to an audience younger than the usual to this type of exhibition at the British Museum, says Rousmaniere: “Generation Z,” Generation Z, the group that is following the Generation X. But it will remain accessible to all ages, and includes those who are British Museum’s patrons and their supporters most of whom are in their 50s and 60s. Rousmaniere emphasizes that no previous experience to manga can be assumed.”The most important thing that this exhibition has I am able to guarantee is that you’ll become proficient in manga. After seeing this exhibit you will gain the ability to learn,” says the curator.
The opening of the exhibition’s 6 segments, “The art of manga,” will give novices the basics needed to comprehend the art form. Manga creator Kono Fumiyo developed a visual grammar inspired by a handscroll of the 12th century as well as her animals that will instruct viewers how to understand manga.Thanks to the foyer’s Alice in Wonderland theme, visitors will be welcomed to the medium before they step foot into. In addition to being Alice’s tales as told in Lewis Caroll’s writing along with John Tenniel’s artwork the first and most famous illustration of story telling through images They have also significantly influence on anime, manga also gaming, in Japan. Lewis Carroll’s works have had its work translated into Japanese numerous times, including by writer Mishima Yukio. In the last few years, the tale was illustrated by the artist Kusama Yayoi.
In nations like Britain where there isn’t a visual storytelling culture on the magnitude and the tradition of manga, many people think that manga are trivial.”Most people think of manga as comics, for kids, or as little cartoons you watch on TV; however, in reality manga is a more complex kind of storytelling that is visual,” says Rousmaniere. “Manga is a method of telling stories to those who believe they do not have a an established history, or whose story isn’t recorded.”The exhibit will include manga that are inspired by the tsunami, earthquake and nuclear disasters that occurred in March 2011. This includes Ichi-F created by Kazuto Tatsuta, which is based on the artist’s experience working on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station following its melting down. It is the work of Shiriagari Kutobuki who began making manga about the disasters on the day following the earthquake and has been to the affected areas several times, is also included.
Another manga that is hard-hitting is Nojo Jun’ichi’s tale about the history of the Emperor Showa (Hirohito). In the exhibit, Nojo revealed that his inspiration came from The Queen film. The Queen, starring Helen Mirren. Rousmaniere says that the subject could be too controversial to be a subject for TV as well as filmmaking in Japan in the least if it was approached in the same manner.
“Manga can show things that you can’t do in other ways,” she states, adding that images of visuals can become “more powerful” than the written word.
Rousmaniere also relates how UK readers have informed that they love manga due to issues with their sexual identity.”Somehow by reading manga, they were able to discover and redefine themselves. This had a profound effect on their development and mental health.
“You can take it lightly, but there is really deep meaning to this exhibition,” she says.
Cross-Fertilization and the Change
While it’s often regarded as fundamentally Japanese in the same way as sushi is, however the story of manga is undoubtedly one of cross-fertilization and Western comics. The famous manga artist Tezuka Osamu, who is often called”the “god” of Japanese manga–adopted the style of big-eyed cartooning that Disney had developed. Then, Disney returned the favor by taking the Tezuka style of Kimba the White Lion for its Lion King.Rousmaniere recalls how French cartoonist Moebius (Jean Giraud) was a major influence on Katsuhiro Otomo, Urasawa Naoki and Miyazaki Hayao, in addition to other Japanese manga creators. Today, technology has made the switching between the two more convenient than ever before. The exhibit itself is an exchange between Matsumoto Taiyo as well as the French art-maker Nicolas de Crecy.
“I think you are going to see a lot more interaction,” says Rousmaniere.Meanwhile, digital technology is changing manga in other fundamental ways. The sales of manga printed are down in Japan (although they are not in the United States). As part of the show visitors can download manga at no cost to their smartphones or other devices.”What you see is more digital. There is a growing desire for gaming, as well as multimedia convergence” states Rousmaniere. “Manga is constantly reinventing itself . . . The tomorrow will be mobile.”
Innovative Ways of Seeing
As curator of the exhibition What is it that Rousmaniere hope visitors get from it?”In the simplest terms What I am most concerned about is that they love the experience and learn some aspect of themselves or discover something they didn’t realize,” she says. “I hope that they show their manga.”She is also hoping that visitors will be more aware of the power of manga in the streets, in advertisements for example.”They may not have realized the manga phenomenon before, but it is here already,” she says. “I want them to come out and see their world a little bit differently.”