LONDON: From smashing social boundaries to chasing Pokemon, the power of Japanese manga to inspire and entertain fans around the world surges forth in a major London show opening today.
The largest ever manga exhibition to be held outside of Japan takes visitors to the British Museum on a journey from the art form’s traditional roots to the multi-billion dollar industry of today.
“Manga is the most popular form of storytelling today,” the museum’s director Hartwig Fischer said at the launch of “Citi Exhibition Manga”.
Displays trace manga’s evolution from the comics and dramatic designs by famous Japanese artists such as Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) to the global phenomenon of Pokemon and the Oscar-winning animations of Studio Ghibli.
“It’s something about the engagement that makes manga special,” said Nicole Rousmaniere, curator of Japanese arts.
“It’s a visual language that relays content very, very quickly. This is because of the power of the line,” she told AFP.
“I believe that in Japan it makes a lot of sense that when you are doing calligraphy when you are looking at characters, your brain is already conditioned to have that pictorial content.”
Visitors will learn how to properly read manga, which translates as “pictures run riot”, and about the influence of “god of manga” Osamu Tezuka (1928-89), who created iconic characters “The Mighty Atom” (later known as “Astro Boy”) and “Princess Knight”.