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Manga now: three generations - British Museum

Chiba Tetsuya (b. 1939),  Fair Isle Light House Keepers Golf Course, Scotland . Ink and colour  on paper, 2015. Loaned by the artist. © Chiba Tetsu ya.

Exhibition preview

CELEBRATING the tenth anniversary of Asahi Shimbun sponsorship, Manga now: three generations will be on display at the British Museum (Room 3) from September 3 to November 15, 2015. Admission is free.

This Asahi Shimbun Display will feature newly commissioned and recent works by a trio of celebrated Japanese manga artists: Chiba Tetsuya, Hoshino Yukinobu and Nakamura Hikaru.

The display will explore the diverse appeal of manga and show how it has evolved over recent generations through the work of three living artists. It will also give a rare opportunity to see the original artwork that forms the basis for mass-printed manga.

Manga is a graphic art form that developed in the early 1900s based on traditional Japanese artistic and literary genres. Integrating text and image into compelling narratives, manga has grown to be a vital part of global popular culture.

The British Museum will showcase a developing strand of its Japanese collection through these three never-before exhibited artworks.

The prominent manga artist, Chiba Tetsuya has been creating best-selling manga for over 50 years, a number of which have been made into animated series for TV and film. He is best known for his sports manga, which address struggle, failure and eventual redemption through single-minded dedication to a single sport.

The display will feature Chiba Tetsuya’s Fair Isle Lighthouse Keepers Golf Course, Scotland (pictured). A young golfer is depicted weighing his options on this remote course with the Fair Isle lighthouse in the background. Having played the Old Course at Saint Andrews twice in the past, the artist hopes to next play this course and has created this work specifically for the display.

Hoshino Yukinobu returns to the British Museum’s Asahi Shimbun Display for a second time, following Manga: Professor Munakata’s British Museum adventure (November 2009 – January 2010) and his subsequent manga book with the same title published by British Museum Press.

Hoshino Yukinobu works from his mountainside studio in Sapporo, and specialises in the science fiction genre. Trained in traditional Japanese painting, he typically draws all of his work by hand, and when colour is needed scans the drawings and adds colour by computer. Here Hoshino Yukinobu has drawn, entirely in shades of ink, a seemingly three-dimensional portrait of his newly created character Rainman, especially for this display.

Nakamura Hikaru represents the most recent generation of artists and one of the leading manga artists in Japan. She specialises in comic manga of everyday life. The British Museum will feature a cover artwork from her series Saint Oniisan, which tells the story of Jesus and The Buddha sharing a small flat in modern day Tachikawa, a suburb of Tokyo.

The artwork presented in this display depicts Buddha drawing a manga with Jesus helping him, a work created by Nakamura Hikaru first by hand, then scanned and finally coloured using a computer. Her works have been translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Korean and Chinese, but not yet into English.

The acquisition of the works by Nakamura Hikaru and Hoshino Yukinobu have been funded by the JTI Japanese Acquisition Fund.

Free related gallery

Japan: The Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries – Rooms 92–94

The art, religion, entertainment and everyday life of emperors, courtiers and townspeople can be explored through objects dating from Ancient Japan to the Modern period. Artefacts range from porcelain and Samurai warrior swords, to woodblock prints and twentieth century Manga comic books.

Public programme: lectures and events

Start local, go global: manga in world culture, a gallery talk by author Helen McCarthy – in Room 3 on Friday, September 18 at 1.15pm. Free, just drop in.

Drawing manga: practice and context – in the Stevenson Lecture Theatre on Saturday, October 10 at 2pm. Free but booking is essential.

Illustrator Hugo Yoshikawa’s live demonstration will show you how to draw your own manga! Using a visualiser to project his drawings onto a big screen, Hugo will explain his process and discuss manga illustration in a wider context with manga historian and curator Paul Gravett.

Shōjo manga: Girls’ Comics from Japan, a gallery talk by Paul Gravett, historian, critic and curator and Akiko Hatsu, manga artist – in Room 92 on Tuesday, October 20 at 1.15pm. Free, just drop in.

Manga now, Ukiyo-e then, a gallery talk by Tim Clark of the British Museum – in Room 3 on Thursday, November 5 at 1.15pm. Free, just drop in.

Manga now at the British Museum, a gallery talk by Nicole Rousmaniere of the British Museum – in Room 3 on Wednesday, November 11 at 1.15pm. Free, just drop in.

Big swingers and geezer girls: golf manga in post-war Japan – in the BP Lecture Theatre on Friday, November 13 at 1.30pm. Free but booking is essential.

Golf took off in post-war Japan and was chronicled in manga. Angus Lockyer, SOAS, reveals how golf and manga have served each other, through boom, bubble and lost decades, documenting the slow transformation of Japanese society.

Otaku Attack! おたくアタック ! – in the Great Court and Samsung Digital Discovery Centre on Friday, November 13 at 6pm.

An evening of manga-inspired entertainment and digital activities to celebrate the Asahi Shimbun Display, Manga now. Cosplayers welcome!

Also on display at the British Museum: Triumph and disaster: medals of the Sun King (until November 15, 2015).

British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG

Tel: 020 7323 8181