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Manga Now at the British Museum

Third Thursday lecture - Sainsbury Institute

Thursday 17 December, 2015
6:00pm GMT

Professor Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere (Handa IFAC Curator of Japanese Arts, British Museum and Research Director, Sainsbury Institute)

About the Talk

Manga is an important cultural phenomenon in Japan, Asia and increasingly throughout the world. Literally translated as ‘pictures run riot’, manga is a form of sequential art that is basically made of a narrative sequence of images. The artistic origins of manga derive from two traditional literary practices, traditional Japanese narrative handscrolls dating from the twelfth century onwards, and printed books, especially the low cost illustrated novels (kibiyôshi) printed in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Manga in the 20th century reflects many international currents. And today it is big business. The Japanese manga industry in one year during 2014 generated approximately 2.5 billion pounds. Manga in a variety of forms is increasingly becoming popular in Europe. New technologies will only help to facilitate manga’s popularity in Europe and America.

The British Museum has embarked on an ambition programme of collecting and curating manga with the aim of a major display in 2018. This autumn an Asahi Shimbun display titled Manga now, three generations was held and attracted over 92,000 visitors.

The display focused on three artists, Chiba Tetsuya (b. 1939) the grandmaster of manga world, Hoshino Yukinobu (b. 1954) the well-known Science Fiction specialist who created Professor Munakata’s British Museum Adventure and Nakamura Hikaru (b. 1984) who has recently taken the manga world by storm with her depictions of Jesus and Buddha living in contemporary Tokyo. This lecture will examine the creation of this exhibition and these three artists to reveal a slice of what is happening with manga now in Japan.

About the Speaker

Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere is the founding Director of the Sainsbury Institute and Professor of Japanese Art and Culture at the University of East Anglia. She received her PhD from Harvard University in 1998. She spent three years on secondment as a Visiting Professor in Cultural Resource Studies at Tokyo University (2006-2009). From Summer 2011 she is Research Director of the Sainsbury Institute. She is currently seconded to the British Museum as IFAC Handa Curator of Japanese Art in the Department of Asia.

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.

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The Third Thursday Lecture series is funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Yakult UK.