2019 will see the British Museum host an exhibition on the history of manga. Supported by Citi, the exhibition will be a part of the Japan-UK Season of Culture 2019-20.
The British Museum made the announcement on Twitter, calling it “the largest exhibition of manga ever to take place outside of Japan.” Exploring the historical roots of manga, it will also show how it has become a worldwide phenomenon, influencing comics, fashion, cosplay and games.
“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.”
With the curators looking after a growing collection of manga, they continue to collect contemporary works in the genre. Many of the objects in the exhibition will be loans coming to the UK for the first time.
In the British Museum’s Curator’s Corner video, the show’s curator, Nicole Rousmaniere, mentions Hikaru Nakamura’s manga Saint Young Men (which involves Jesus and Buddha living together in an apartment). Using it as an example, she describes how “manga can take topics that are taboo, topics that are emotional, topics that are very close to one’s heart that you normally can’t speak about.” Rousmaniere also added, “Through the storylines, and also the visual power, [they] can really shift your ideas about things.”
Of the exhibition, Rousmaniere said, “What’s so exciting about what we’re doing at the British Museum is we’re trying to bring this to you and show you that there is a choice and show you the role that manga plays, not just in Japan, but worldwide, and now growingly on the web.”