Contemporary Japanese manga from the work of Katsushika Hokusai

Opening on the 17th of August, ‘Manga Hokusai Manga’ is an exhibition that sees Hokusai Manga from the point of view of contemporary Japanese manga. The focus is put on the use of the visual narrative within contemporary manga to provide a comparative explanation concerning the similarities and differences it bears with Hokusai Manga that originated 200 years ago with Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), the artist who laid down the foundation of this art form. The special discussion held on the opening day welcomed Assistant Professor Dr. Chaiyosh Isavorapant of the Faculty of Painting, Sculp- ture and Graphic Arts, Silpakorn University as the speaker who talked about storytelling techniques, the details of printmaking and the brief history of Katsushika Hokusai.

Phitoon Terapatanapan, the editor of Thailand’s renowned publishing house, Vibulkij, talked about the history and development of the role of a publisher of Japanese manga in Thailand. The last speaker was Jamnong Srinuan, one of the founders and the first art editor of Sarakadee magazine who shared his love and passion for manga and the distinctive storytelling techniques that he finds to be incredibly interesting.

The exhibition’s content was designed to follow Japanese reading culture where a text is read from right to left. Divided into four main topics, the first one was Hokusai Manga: Funny Picture?, which talked about the beginning of the word ‘manga’ as an art form that combines simplicity, excitement and fun into 15 sets of Hokusai Manga series using the technique of three-color woodblock printing. The next topic, A Character Named Hokusai, discussed the many reoccurrences of the character Hokusai manga including those within the works of other contemporary artists in Japan’s manga scene during the 1970s. The particularly interesting topic was Manga like Ukiyo-e, Ukiyo-e like Manga that explored the storytelling techniques that have been trans- mitted from past to present from the use of speech balloons, symbolic line paneling, and the emphasis on emotional expressions and personalities through different eye sizes.

The last topic was Hokusai Manga: Shared Manual! where the role of Hokusai Manga as an academic reference for art and design students in the 19th Century was discussed in comparison with the manga- drawing manual by contemporary manga artists emerging in the 1950s. This part of the exhibition also featured the continually larger scale and cultural and economic significance of the Manga market. Last but not least was Contemporary Manga Artists Revisit the Hokusai Manga where the interpre- tation of Hokusai Manga was presented through the works of seven Manga artists, Shiriagari Kotobuki, Yokoyama Yuichi, Nishijima Daisuke, Igarashi Daisuke, Okadaya Tetuzoh, Ichikawa Haruko and Kyō Machiko, reflecting the different ways in which Hokusai Manga has influenced and inspired their works. The exhibition has Jaqueline Berndt as its director with Ito Yu and Takahashi Mizuki serving as the show’s curators.

“Manga Hokusai Manga” will be held at g23 Art Gallery, Srinakharinwirot University, Bangkok until the 19th of September before traveling north for a showcasing at Art Bridge Chiang Rai from the 7th of October to the 2nd of November, with the Art and Cultural Promotion Center, Prince of Songkla Uni- versity being the last leg of the tour and the 14th of November to the 5th of October 2017 being the scheduled dates of the exhibition.


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