Hoshino Yukinobu (b. 1954), Rainman. Ink on paper, 2015. JTI Japanese Acquisition Fund, 2015,3024.1 © Hoshino Yukinobu.

British Museum to host Manga Now: Three Generations Exhibition

Hoshino Yukinobu (b. 1954), Rainman. Ink on paper, 2015. JTI Japanese Acquisition Fund, 2015,3024.1 © Hoshino Yukinobu.
Hoshino Yukinobu (b. 1954), Rainman. Ink on paper, 2015. JTI Japanese Acquisition Fund, 2015,3024.1 © Hoshino Yukinobu.

Celebrating the tenth anniversary of Asahi Shimbun sponsorship, the British Museum’s Asahi Shimbun Gallery is to host Manga Now: Three Generations from September, an exhibition featuring newly commissioned and recent works by a trio of celebrated Japanese manga artists: Chiba Tetsuya, Hoshino Yukinobu and Nakamura Hikaru.

The display – accompanied by a number of manga-related events which will include artist appearances and more – will explore the diverse appeal of manga and show how it has evolved over recent generations through the work of three living artists. It will also give a rare opportunity to see the original artwork that forms the basis for mass-printed manga.

As most downthetubes visitors know, manga is a graphic art form that developed in the early 1900s based on traditional Japanese artistic and literary genres. Integrating text and image into compelling narratives, manga has grown to be a vital part of global popular culture. The British Museum will showcase a developing strand of its Japanese collection through these three never-before exhibited artworks.

Chiba Tetsuya (b. 1939), Fair Isle Lighthouse Keepers Golf Course, Scotland. Ink and colour on paper, 2015. Loaned by the artist. © Chiba Tetsuya.
Chiba Tetsuya (b. 1939), Fair Isle Lighthouse Keepers Golf Course, Scotland. Ink and colour on paper, 2015. Loaned by the artist. © Chiba Tetsuya.

The prominent manga artist Chiba Tetsuya has been creating best-selling manga for over 50 years, a number of which have been made into animated series for TV and film. He is best known for his sports manga, which address struggle, failure and eventual redemption through single-minded dedication to a single sport. The display will feature Chiba Tetsuya’s ‘Fair Isle Lighthouse Keepers Golf Course, Scotland.’ A young golfer is depicted weighing his options on this remote course with the Fair Isle lighthouse in the background. Having played the Old Course at Saint Andrews twice in the past, the artist hopes to next play this course and has created this work specifically for the display.

Hoshino Yukinobu returns to the British Museum’s Asahi Shimbun Display for a second time, following Manga: Professor Munakata’s British Museum adventure (November 2009- January 2010) and his subsequent manga book with the same title published by British Museum Press. Hoshino Yukinobu works from his mountainside studio in Sapporo, and specialises in the science fiction genre. Trained in traditional Japanese painting, he typically draws all of his work by hand, and when colour is needed scans the drawings and adds colour by computer. Here Hoshino Yukinobu has drawn, entirely in shades of ink, a seemingly three-dimensional portrait of his newly created character Rainman, especially for this display. (You can read Paul Gravett’s interview with Hoshino Yukinobu here).

Nakamura Hikaru (b. 1984), Jesus and Buddha drawing manga. Cover artwork for Saint Oniisan vol. 10. Digital Print, hand drawn and coloured on computer, 2014. JTI Japanese Acquisition Fund. © Nakamura Hikaru/ Kodansha Ltd
Nakamura Hikaru (b. 1984), Jesus and Buddha drawing manga. Cover artwork for Saint Oniisan vol. 10. Digital Print, hand drawn and coloured on computer, 2014. JTI Japanese Acquisition Fund. © Nakamura Hikaru/ Kodansha Ltd

Nakamura Hikaru represents the most recent generation of artists and one of the leading manga artists in Japan. She specialises in comic manga of everyday life. The British Museum will feature a cover artwork from her series ‘Saint Oniisan’, which tells the story of Jesus and The Buddha sharing a small flat in modern day Tachikawa, a suburb of Tokyo. The artwork presented in this display depicts Buddha drawing a manga with Jesus helping him, a work created by Nakamura Hikaru first by hand, then scanned and finally coloured using a computer. Her works have been translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Korean and Chinese, but not yet into English.

• Manga Now: Three Generations runs at the British Museum, London, from 3rd September to 15th November 2015 in the Asahi Shimbun Gallery. Admission free. Visit www.britishmuseum.org for details

Public Programme: Lectures and Events

Start local, go global: manga in world culture
Fri 18 Sep, 13.15, Room 3 – Free, just drop in

A gallery talk by author Helen McCarthy.

Drawing manga: practice and context
Sat 10 Oct, 14.00, Stevenson Lecture Theatre – Free, booking essential

Illustrator Hugo Yoshikawa’s live demonstration will show you how to draw your own manga! Using a visualiser to project his drawings onto a big screen, Hugo will explain his process and discuss manga illustration in a wider context with manga historian and curator Paul Gravett.

Art by and © Akiko Hatsu
Art by and © Akiko Hatsu

Shōjo manga: Girls’ Comics from Japan
Tue 20 Oct, 13.15, Room 92 – Free, just drop in

A gallery talk by Paul Gravett, historian, critic and curator and manga artist Akiko Hatsu (who also appears at this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival – see news story)

Manga now, Ukiyo-e then
Thu 5 Nov, 13.15, Room 3 – Free, just drop in

A gallery talk by Tim Clark, British Museum.

Manga now at the British Museum
Wed 11 Nov, 13.15, Room 3 – Free, just drop in

A gallery talk by Nicole Rousmaniere, British Museum.

Big swingers and geezer girls: golf manga in post-war Japan
Fri 13 Nov, 13.30, BP Lecture Theatre

Golf took off in post-war Japan and was chronicled in manga. Angus Lockyer, SOAS, reveals how golf and manga have served each other, through boom, bubble and lost decades, documenting the slow transformation of Japanese society.
Free, booking essential

Otaku Attack!
Fri 13 November, 18.00, Great Court and Samsung Digital Discovery Centre

An evening of manga-inspired entertainment and digital activities to celebrate the Asahi Shimbun Display, Manga now. Cosplayers welcome!

• For the full list of events and to book, visit britishmuseum.org/events 

• Follow updates on the exhibition via Twitter with #MangaNow and follow the Museum on Twitter @britishmuseum

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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