In light of Japan’s contemporary comics and their global proliferation, the 19th-century Hokusai Manga is attracting increasing interest. Fans worldwide tend to even regard this pictorial compendium by ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai as the origin of today’s manga.
But the outward appearance of these two types of manga does not immediately suggest a continuous tradition. Do present-day graphic narratives and the master’s “diverse drawings” share anything other than a name?
Unlike past exhibitions of Hokusai’s work, #Manga Hokusai Manga approaches the Hokusai Manga from the perspective of contemporary Japanese comics, focusing on genre, pictorial storytelling and participatory culture rather than the integration of word and image or the role of popular characters.
And instead of aiming at a historiographic verification of influences, the exhibition invites viewers to ponder their own notions about manga by comparing works from different periods while exploring the diversity therein.