This summer, Japan House London will present a two-month exhibition on the popular Japanese art form, manga, through the work of internationally-acclaimed manga artist, Naoki Urasawa.
Hugely popular in Japan, where it makes up for over 20% of all publications sold, manga refers to what is commonly known as comics in the UK and features unique characters, complex storylines and covers a broader range of genres.
This is Manga – the Art of Urasawa Naoki (5 June – 28 July 2019) at Japan House will provide an immersive encounter with this popular art form through focusing on the work of Urasawa.
Since his professional debut in 1983, Urasawa has engaged readers with dynamic storytelling and sophisticated characters that explore the hopes, dreams, and underlying fears of humanity. With hit titles spanning the genres of sports, comedy, mystery, and science fiction, his drawing style is famous for innovative compositional techniques and bold black and white panels.
Urasawa’s international breakthrough came in the mid-1990s with the release of the mystery ‘Monster’, about a Japanese surgeon living in Germany. Since then sales of his works have reached over 127 million books in Japan alone, with titles published in more than 20 countries.
At the heart of this success is his passion for manga and resolve as an artist. In an industry that has become increasingly global, Urasawa continues to retain his unique style, personal devotion to his craft, and the integrity of his ideals to reflect an uncompromising view of the human condition. He skillfully weaves social context and detailed cultural settings into his stories to help illustrate how overarching social and historical forces influence the actions of his characters.
This retrospective exhibition will introduce Urasawa’s ideas from inception through development, with more than 400 original drawings and storyboards on display. Selected stories from seven of his major works will be presented, highlighting the breadth of the artist’s narrative styles. There'll even be a reading corner with full English translations of his bestselling stories.
And, through changing displays, four consecutive stories from 'Yawara!' will be presented over the course of the exhibition, one story every two weeks, encouraging you to return again and again to experience the work in the weekly serial style of many Japanese comic anthologies. This rare opportunity to enjoy Urasawa’s manga directly from his original hand-drawn storyboards offers a unique glimpse into the artist’s process and psyche.
This is Manga – the Art of Urasawa Naoki will be open to the public at Japan House London from 5 June to 28 July 2019. Admission is free.