HOKUSAI X MANGA
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Courtesans, Heroes, Stars and Phantoms - In the early seventeenth century, Edo, which was the biggest city in the world at the time in ancient Japan, developed a distinctive culture oriented towards pleasure and consumption. This period gave rise to a broad spectrum of motifs and narrative material. The publishers of the ukiyo-e woodblock prints took their cue from the demands expressed by their urban readership. Popular themes included the star cult surrounding Kabuki theatre and the glamorous world of courtesans. The woodblock print motifs show elaborately attired prostitutes as idols of femininity. They cater to the erotic curiosity of men, while simultaneously bringing the latest fashion trends into the homes of middle class women. The devotees of the Kabuki actors stuck woodblock prints on the wall showing their portraits or depicting them in classic roles. They also copied their mannerisms and expressions and formed fan clubs. Modern stars are fictional but are just as idolised. Characters like Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy are so popular that they are to be found in a huge range of different media and have risen to become icons of pop culture, forming part of the everyday fabric of life. Their fans bring them to life in cosplay using costumes and accessories, imitating their gestures and facial expressions. The passion for graphics amongst readers is also expressed in the large-scale production of fan art. Popular manga and anime materials find their way into interactive computer games, contemporary graphic and fashion design, and the visual arts.

In an extensive exhibition, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) will retrace the manifold links between historical and contemporary popular culture in Japan. The MKG has in its possession an internationally acclaimed collection of Japanese colour woodblock prints and woodcut books by the most important ukiyo-e artists, such as Utagawa Kuni- yoshi (1797–1861) and Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849). The exhibition will cover the spectrum from these superb wood- block prints and historical printmaking products of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to the visual mass media of modern Japan: manga comics, anime and computer games, as well as the active fan scenes and appropriation practices – for example, cosplay (short for “costume play”) – that accompany them. In addition to presenting the various independent stylistic elements that distinguish these media, Hokusai x Manga: Japanese Pop Culture since 1680 will explore the timeless features that they have in common. Images courtesy: Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg.
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Miss Hokusai, film still, 2015, © 2014-2015 Hinako Sugiura•MS.HS / Sarusuberi Film Partners, All Rights Reserved
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), High Sea at Kanagawa, Wave Trough, 1831, coloured woodcut, 24 x 35 cm, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, © MKG
Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), Suido Bridge and the Surugadai Quarter, 1857, colour woodblock print, 34 x 22,6 cm, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, © MKG
Jed Henry (*1983) (Design), Fox Moon, 2012, woodcut, woodcut and print by David Bull, © Jed Henry
Jiro Taniguchi (*1947), The Walking Man, 2009, Cover of the german edition, © Jiro Taniguchi, Carlsen Verlag
Keiji Nakazawa, Barefoot Gen, A Cartoon Story Of Hiroshima (Vol. 1, german edition), 2004, Cover, © Keiji Nakazawa, Carlsen Verlag
Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), The Hero Yokogawa Kanpei Munenori, 1852, coloured woodcut, 36,1 x 24,5 cm, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, © MKG
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), The Vengeful Ghost of Kobata Koheiji, Japan, Edo, 1831/32, colour woodblock print, 25,6 × 19,2 cm, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, © MKG
Jed Henry (*1983) (Design), Blue Storm, 2013, woodcut, woodcut and print by David Bull, © Jed Henry
Macoto Takahashi (*1934), Deluxe Margaret, Japan, 1972, Cover Illustration, reproduction (Genga dash), digital print on paper, © Makoto Takahashi, Kyoto Seika University International Manga Research Enter
Hiroshi Saitō (*1936) / unknown, Vicky the Viking, Japan, 1974, Anime Cel, Collection Frostrubin, © 1972 Zuiyo Production, © 2016 Studio 100 Media GmbH
Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), The Hero Izumo no Imaro, 1827-30, coloured woodcut, 36 x 25 cm, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, © MKG
Yoshihiro Tatsumi (1935-2015), Beloved Monkey, p. 262, 2013, Graphic Novel, © Carlsen Verlag
Miss Hokusai, 2015, film still, © 2014-2015 Hinako Sugiura•MS.HS / Sarusuberi Film Partners, All Rights Reserved
Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), ‘I Want to See the Next One!’, Japan, Edo, 1852, colour woodblock print, 36,2 × 24,6 cm, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, © MKG
Hiroshi Saito (*1936) / unknown, after Waldemar Bonsel‘s ‚Maya the Bee‘, Japan, 1975–1980, Cel with background, 27,5 × 23 cm, Sammlung Frostrubin, © Studio 100 Media GmbH
Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915), The Joo and Manji period, Japan, Tōkyō, 1896, tryptich, colour woodblock print, 35 × 72 cm, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, © MKG
Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), Osome and Hisamatsu,1798/99, colour woodblock print, 34,9 x 23,4 cm, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, © MKG
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), The Vengeful Ghost of Oiwa, around 1831/ 32, coloured woodcut, 26,1 x 18,8 cm, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, © MKG
Isao Takahata (*1935) / unknown, Heidi, Japan, 1974, Cel with background, Collection Linda Manz, © 1975 Zuiyo Production, © 2016 Studio 100 Media GmbH
Chōensai Eishin (active 1789-1804), The Falconer, Japan, Edo, 1789–1801, colour woodblock print, 37 × 24,9 cm, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, © MKG
Keisai Eisen (1790-1848), Lovers, Japan, Edo, colour woodblock print, 26,2 × 38,2 cm, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, © MKG
Hokusai x Manga, exhibition view 3, photo: Friederike Palm
Cosplayer Rudolf Arnold al Miku Hatsune, mascot of the singing synthesizer application Vocaloid, photo: Joachim Seidel
Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), Koganei in Musashi Province, 1858, coloured woodcut, 33,8 x 22,2 cm, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, © MKG
Hokusai x Manga, exhibition view 1, photo: Christiane Papenmeyer
Cosplay-Fest im Kyoto International Manga Museum, Japan, 2010, Courtesy: imrc, © Kyoto International Manga Museum
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