The British Museum to Put on Largest Manga Exhibition in the World, Outside of Japan

In 2019, the British Museum in London is to put on the largest exhibition dedicated to manga ever held outside Japan.

It was probably the perfect time for the neighbouring Cartoon Museum to move up Oxford Street. It’s very hard for a small museum when the large international museum tries to step on your turf.

Curated by Nicole Rousmaniere, she intends the exhibition, with 130 exhibited spaces including original drawings, books and games, to show the full range of the medium and sees it as informing current culture, becoming more visual orientated with recent changes in social media. The museum has worked with about 50 artists, including the creators of Astro Boy and Princess Jellyfish.

As part of the exhibition, visitors will be able to put on cosplay costumes and see a recreation of Tokyo’s oldest manga bookshop. Visitors will also be able to download digital manga from a virtual space, use a “manga-fi”  photo booth, and a 17-metre-long curtain used in traditional Kabuki theatre which will be displayed across one wall.

Ms Rousmaniere, Handa Curator of Japanese Art at the museum sees British influence on manga, stating that the British brought satire to Japan in the 19th century Punch magazine, recreated as Japan Punch by Charles Wigman. It presented cartoons satirising local westerners and the difficulties they had in establishing commercial and diplomatic relations with the Japanese and had a major influence on local creators, concerned about modernisation, and created rival publications to satirise Japanese government policies.

The exhibition opens on May 23 and runs to August 26. It is organised with The National Art Center, Tokyo and the Organisation for the Promotion of Manga and Anime.

Here’s a look at some of the items part of the exhibition, including seventies homoerotic girls comics The Poe Clan, Artist Kawanabe Kyōsai’s nineteenth century banner for the Shintomi Theater, Santō Kyōden’s eighteenth century Small Change from a Gem-grinding Wheel and the Katsushika Hokusai manga prints, The Tale Of The Monkeys from 1200, which informed the included Gigatown by Kōno Fumiyo (both on display), original art from Oda Eiichirō’s One Piece, Shirato Sanpei’s Legends of Kamui from Garo Magazine, 1940’s red books from Tezuka Osamu, Manga sugoroku board games from the twenties by Okamoto Ippei, itazawa Rakuten’s 1902 newspaper supplements,


About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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