Text by: Fiammetta Cesana

We love Manga! The Japanese artist Meg Mai created for us a marvelous manga comic “Cat Op” teaching through the stories of Miss Lemon and her funny cat (cats are manga’s favorite pets…) how to wear a Kimono. Don’t miss it on our 11th Issue!

Holly and Benj_CITI Manga_Sainsbury Exhibition Gallery British Museum

This summer in London we also found new inspirations and knowledge of Manga with the super cool show, CITI Manga, hosted by Sainsbury Exhibition Gallery of British Museum. 

The exhibition, exploring mangas from their birth till present day, is divided into six subsequent zones, where each of them focuses on a particular aspect of the internationally known Japanese comic’s history. First, you are given the tools to correctly understand and read mangas and anime, exploring different drawing techniques and also approaching them through western references, like Alice in Wonderland, which enhance the cartoon’s global affirmation. 

Gigatown_Turtel and Rabbit_CITI Manga_Sainsbury Exhibition Gallery British Museum

Then you are introduced to a digitally-based reality to discover their evolution and current social impact on different media forms. They created a virtual bookstore and reading space where you are invited to enjoy manga’s books and magazines, also being able to download them for free. There is also a digital experience based around Hoshino Yukinobu’s Professor Munakata’s British Museum Adventure, literally drawing the visitor into the manga of the museum. 

Bookshop_CITI Manga_Sainsbury Exhibition Gallery British Museum

In the following zone, you can finally choose your favorite manga’s genre in between “seen” and “unseen” worlds: sports, science fiction, eros, love and, on the other side, beliefs, spirit and horror themes…

You are told about the manga’s role in society, discovering fandoms, events, and how education and cultural places like museums, today, increasingly takes inspirations from them. Then you have the chance to meet the most famous and iconic creations of the genre on the 70-metre-long walls of the gallery, from Takemiya Keiko to Otomo Katsuhiro. A highlight is the 1880’s majestic 17-metre Kabuki curtain for the Shintomiza theatre in Tokyo by be Kawanabe Kyosai. 

Kawanabe Kyōsai, Shintomiza Kabuki Theatre Curtain, 1880_Courtesy Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Waseda University_CITI Manga_Sainsbury Exhibition Gallery British Museum

To conclude, the final zone is dedicated to the relation between the cartoons and contemporary popular cultures, with a particular focus on gaming and of course on Pokemon, revealing the growing worldwide social influence of mangas.

During the show, you can even have fun transforming yourself into a manga by a specially designed camera!

Manga-me photobooth_CITI Manga_Sainsbury Exhibition Gallery British Museum