Young V&A reveals debut exhibition, Japan: Myths to Manga, opening on 14 October 2023

The Young V&A's new exhibition, Japan: Myths to Manga, is an immersive experience for children and families that explores into the interplay of Japan's folklore, art, and design.

My Neighbour Totoro. © 1988 Studio Ghibli

Spanning from Hokusai to Pokémon, Studio Ghibli, and more, the exhibit offers an atmospheric journey exploring Japan’s art and design evolution. With over 150 objects ranging from ancient to contemporary, visitors will experience visual art, animation, film, fashion, and hands-on activities to ignite creativity. Showcased items include works from V&A’s collections, global loans, new acquisitions, and seldom-seen masterpieces.

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The exhibit unfolds in four distinct sections: Sky, Sea, Forest, and City. Each segment offers insight into Japan’s cherished stories and their artistic manifestations. Highlights include Kunisada’s woodblock prints, an installation involving the Tanabata festival, Hokusai’s Great Wave, Studio Ghibli’s cinematic masterpieces, and exploring “kawaii” culture, anime, manga, and modern technology.

Katy Canales, the esteemed Curator, shares her enthusiasm, “Japan’s diverse landscape and profound myths have inspired brilliant works for centuries. Our goal is to showcase this legacy while also creating engaging experiences for our younger visitors.”

As Dr Helen Charman, Director of Learning and Young V&A, rightly states, “With ‘Japan: Myths to Manga’, we’re taking a significant step towards our commitment to educate and inspire the younger generation, ensuring that they appreciate the rich tapestry of art and culture.”

Supported by Toshiba and Cockayne Grants for the Arts, Japan: Myths to Manga opens at the Young V&A on 14 October.

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