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World Rugby Museum adult ticket £12.50. Concessions available.
Music in Ukiyo-e figured in many ways – through the act of listening or playing, or through music’s place in relation to a depicted character, perhaps a theatre actor or a geisha. These prints illustrate scenes of music making or scenes containing musical elements that are drawn from everyday life and from various Kabuki and Noh plays featuring stories of the past.
Japanese Gallery Kensington presents a collection of Ukiyo-e featuring musical instruments and those who were part of the world of entertainment. Prints by Utamaro Kitagawa, Yoshitoshi Tsukioka and Chikanobu Yoshu, amongst others, offer and insightful view into the world of traditional music and its importance in the visual culture of Japan during the Edo and Meiji periods.
The ukiyo or floating world was a domain of theatre and music, containing within it the idea of carefree existence, living for the moment and relishing in the aesthetic aspects of being. Music in Japanese visual culture also functioned as an important accompaniment and endorsement of beauty, playing a significant role in portraits of actors and women.
These print could be enjoyed audibly as much as they could visually and were designed to evoke the music associated with a given character’s identity. The emphasis was not so much on recalling the plot, but on remembering how one experienced the sound and feeling of the drama.
Beauty prints captured a similar sentiment. Those who could afford the company of geisha and courtesans wished to recall their experience. These women were regarded as the epitome of art and beauty and the presence of music highlighted their talents. In a sense, beauty in a geisha was incomplete without musical accompaniment.
Manga is a visual narrative art form that has become a multimedia global phenomenon, telling stories with themes from gender to adventure, in real or imagined worlds.
Immersive and playful, the exhibition will explore manga’s global appeal and cultural crossover, showcasing original Japanese manga and its influence across the globe, from anime to ‘cosplay’ dressing up.
This influential art form entertains, inspires and challenges – and is brought to life like never before in this ground-breaking exhibition.
The colourful and disarming artworks by the Japanese pop painter Hikari Shimoda will intertwine with the emotional and poetic Street Art by the Italian Millo, filling up Dorothy Circus Gallery’s walls. The intense dialogue between their artworks highlights their unique representation of adolescence and modern youth.
The Japanese artist Hikari Shimoda paints using bright colours and illustrative techniques that combine brushstrokes, lettering and collage. Her work is uniquely made by a juxtaposition of horror and sweetness, a dichotomy that perfectly reflects today’s society. Stareyed children are a direct quote to the superhero child of the Manga culture, and their desire and strength to grow to protect all the children of the world from violence and loneliness. At the same time these characters also reveal the uncertainty and fragility of their own future and that of a tainted and lost childhood.
Hikari Shimoda will be attending the Opening event on 14 June 2019. FREE: RSVP to email@example.com to attend.
Visitors is an ongoing series of portrait characters by Ushiki Masanori, who is regarded as a cult figure in the art world of Japan and, much like his predecessors Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami, Ushiki’s aesthetic centres around diverse themes of childhood and contemporary media. Visitors was born on Ushiki’s Instagram timeline on August 13th 2016, and faithfully he continues to post a new character once a day, every day. From sci-fi monsters to beautiful angry alien girls, Ushiki’s Visitors pay tribute to the many expressions and characters the artist met throughout his youth, familiar hallmarks from popular culture that resonate with our collective consciousness.
Ushiki is a rising star with the ability to capture aspects of anime, manga or Tokusatsu (live-action anime) and to re-mix these elements into a fantasy world of creatures that delight the eye and tickle the senses. Equally so, his sophisticated linework and monochrome palette captures the preposterous with a complex elegance.
In his debut European exhibition, Pocko Gallery will be home to Ushiki’s characters throughout the summer and copies of the book, Visitors, will be available to purchase at the exhibition.
There will be a Study Day on lacquer with specialist lectures, workshop, and gallery talks during the exhibition.
The exhibition aims to promote a better understanding of the craft tradition in Japan, the material lacquer, and the technique of Makie. Koyanagi uses the traditional technique of Makie, but creates objects in innovative modern design that appeal to the contemporary taste. The artist is keen to show how these objects are used in everyday life of Japanese in contemporary society.
Open: Tuesday – Saturday: 10:30 – 17:00
Late night Thursday until 20:00
Closed: Sundays, Mondays and Bank Holidays
Anno’s Journey: the World of Anno Mitsumasa Exhibition at Japan House London
This exhibition explores the work of Anno Mitsumasa, one of Japan’s greatest children’s book illustrators and authors, who is best known for his picture books, with few or no words, published from the late 1960s onwards. The display illustrates the story of Anno Mitsumasa’s life and creative journey, features a reading library with many of Anno’s 300 published books, introduces Japanese language for children and beginners, and explores Anno’s remarkably varied work.
Additionally, the Embassy of Japan will host a more extensive exhibition of Anno’s landscape paintings in August-September.
*Opening hours may vary depending on events, so please check our website on the day of your visit
London’s very own festival of Japanese culture – Japan Matsuri – returns on Sunday, 29 September 2019 in Trafalgar Square in the centre of the city. A regular fixture now in the London calendar, this free annual festival brings people together to enjoy Japanese food, music, dance, and activities for all the family.
The concept of the theme this year is “Future generations”.
Everything kicks off at 10.00am and runs through till 8.00pm. With two stages, there is plenty to see all day. The programme of stage performance for this year is still being finalised and will feature exciting new acts as well as the return of favourites from previous Matsuri.
Enjoy the atmosphere with Japanese festival food from the numerous stalls. Join in the fun in the family activities area with games and dressing in kimono. Try your hand at Japanese cartoons on the manga wall.
Japan Matsuri is organised jointly by the Japan Association, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Japan Society and Nippon Club, with support from the Embassy of Japan.