Japanese Events in the UK - Summer 2019

The Citi exhibition Manga マンガ © Satoru Noda SHUEISHA

From Japanese arts, crafts and academia to cuisine, music and theatre, there's a bit of something for everyone this season across the UK.

Masters of Japanese Prints: Nature and seasons @ Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, 18 May - 8 September 2019

Masters of Japanese Prints: Nature and seasons

Boasting a collection of some 500 ukiyo-e (浮世絵, ‘floating world pictures’) woodblock prints, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is hosting a three-part 'Masters of Japanese Prints' series showcasing the development of an artistic style that was immensely popular with Japanese customers during the late-Edo period and later with western artists and collectors.

‘Masters of Japanese prints: Nature and seasons’ is the third and final installment of this exciting series and will explore the Japanese fascination with the turning seasons and nature through 60 of the museum's ukiyo-e woodblock prints dating from the 1760s to the 1930s. View poetic pleasures such as the sakura cherry blossom and wisteria of spring, cicadas and summer festivals, geese flying across the autumn moon and winter snow-viewing through the eyes of some of Japan's best-loved print designers such as Hiroshige, Hokusai and Kuniyoshi. For fans of Japanese art and history, this is not an exhibition to be missed.

Admission to this exhibition is free. For more information on this exhibition and the others in the three-part series, visit Bristol Museum & Art Gallery's page here.

Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, Bank Holiday Mondays and Mondays during Bristol school holidays: 10am-5pm

Location: Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1RL

The Citi exhibition: Manga マンガ @ British Museum, London, 23 May - 26 August 2019

The Citi exhibition Manga マンガ © Satoru Noda SHUEISHA

It's finally here! What are we talking about you ask? Only the largest exhibition of manga ever to take place outside of Japan! And breathe...

Whilst the British Museum's 'Citi exhibition: Manga マンガ' is an absolute must-visit for fans of the incredibly popular and diverse genre synonymous with Japan, this exhibition is as much for visitors new to the scene as it is for manga veterans: 'Citi exhibition: Manga マンガ' promises a thorough introduction and commentary to manga's many twists and turns, be it its artistic style or its range of discussed themes ranging from sexual politics to the destruction of Hiroshima and everything in between. The museum has worked with about 50 artists from across the genre and features not only an extensive collection of cross-generation manga including the 17m-long Shintomiza Kabuki Theatre Curtain painted by the painter Kawanabe Kyōsai in 1880, but also a "cosplay section" where visitors can dress up as their favourite manga characters whilst picking manga comics from the virtual shelves of Tokyo's oldest manga bookshop. There's even a special photo booth that prints your very own manga match - yes, this exhibition is also for the 'gram! 

Tickets are £19.50 for adults with concessions also available. To find out more about this very exciting and content-packed exhibition, please visit the British Museum's page here.

Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday 10am-5:30pm (last entry at 4:10pm)

Location: Room 30, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG

This is MANGA: The Art of URASAWA NAOKI @ Japan House London, 5 June - 28 July 2019

YAWARA! © 1987 Naoki URASAWA  - Studio Nuts

Jump into the creative cartoon worlds of internationally acclaimed manga artist Urasawa Naoki this summer over at Japan House London!

Since his professional debut in 1983, Urasawa has engaged readers with dynamic storytelling and sophisticated characters that explore the hopes, dreams, and underlying fears of humanity. With hit titles spanning the genres of sports, comedy, mystery, and science fiction, his drawing style is famous for innovative compositional techniques and bold black and white panels. 

Whether you're new to the genre or a long-time avid reader, 'This is MANGA - the Art of URASAWA NAOKI' is a fun and fascinating exhibition with more than 400 original drawings and storyboards on display from a wide variety of Urasawa's cult-classic works such as 'YAWARA!', 'MASTER KEATON ReMASTER', 'MONSTER' and 'BILLY BAT'. Also on display are some comical and exclusive London/UK-inspired sketches to celebrate his two month residency at Japan House London - you'll have to visit to find out what caught his eye here in the UK! And for the chance to experience the magic of Urasawa's works first-hand, just head to the exhibition's reading corner where full English translations from seven of his bestselling stories are available for you to read.

Admission to this exhibition is free. For more details on 'This is MANGA - the Art of URASAWA NAOKI', please visit Japan House's page here

Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-8pm; Sundays & Bank Holidays 12pm-6pm

Location: Japan House London, 101-111 Kensington High Street, London W8 5SA

Japan House Sake Bar at British Museum Late Manga: colour and style @ The British Museum, 6pm-9:30pm 5 July 2019

Japan House Sake Bar at British Museum Late Manga: colour and style

Japan House London, in collaboration with Dassai, one of Japan's most famous sake brands, will be hosting sake tasting at a free Friday Late at the British Museum, celebrating Japanese manga, art, fashion and design.

The event coincides with the British Museum's brilliant Manga マンガ exhibition, though to attend the latter you will need to have already bought a ticket - a great opportunity to do so if you're especially keen to avoid the usual crowds! And to top it off, enjoy a cup of Dassai sake from Japan House London’s pop-up bar and some delicious Japanese food from stalls in the Great Court. There'll also be a multitude of manga-inspired activities, including drawing workshops facilitated by award-winning manga artist Kutsuwada Chie and ticketed screenings of Studio Ghibli’s Pom Poko.

And to make matters even more interesting, the evening will feature extraordinary manga-themed fashion displays from students from the University of the Arts London (UAL) and six Japanese fashion and art schools, with pieces created in conjunction with fashion pioneer Kansai Yamamoto. And of course, what would a manga event be without a little bit of cosplay? Cosplayers from the UK and beyond will no doubt put on a dazzling show with a COSParade hosted jointly with Hyper Japan. 

Performances from shamisen – a Japanese three-stringed lute – player Ichikawa Hibiki and music from electronic artist DJ Takaki meanwhile will make for an eclectic and cool soundtrack for a rather exciting evening. Don't miss it! 

Admission to this exhibition is free. For more details on 'Japan House Sake Bar at British Museum Late Manga: colour and style', please visit Japan House's page here.

Location: The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG

DASSAI Sake Tasting @ Japan House London, 6-7 July 2019

DASSAI Sake Tasting

On Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 July 2019 Japan House London will present two tutored tastings of Dassai – one of Japan's most famous sake brands hailing from Asahi Shuzo brewery in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Two different varieties of the award-winning Dassai range will be served at these tasting sessions led by Asahi Shuzo's own Tsuchiya Madoka. 

Admission to this event is free. To find out more about the two varieties of Dassai sake available during the tasting sessions, please visit Japan House's page here.

Session Times: Saturday 6 July 3pm-6pm; Sunday 7 July 2pm-5pm

Location: Japan House London, 101-111 Kensington High Street, London W8 5SA

日本の陶芸家三人展 – An Exhibition of Three Potters @ Sway Gallery London, 9-17 July 2019

日本の陶芸家 三人展 – An Exhibition of Three Potters

Explore the world of "outsider art" at Sway Gallery's '日本の陶芸家三人展 - An Exhibition of Three Potters' featuring ceramic works by renowned artists Shinichi Sawada, Akio Kontani and Nobuo Sasaki. Outsider art is an English translation of the French term "art brut" and refers to art that is raw and rare, independent of tradition, markets and mainstream culture. 

The exhibition includes over 25 of the artists's works taken directly from their studios in northern and southern Japan as well as photographs of the artists at work. Many of the ceramics are intriguing representations of animals and demon-like creatures often with rough or thorny textures that are very clearly products of each artist's deep and sometimes dark imagination. 

Admission to this exhibition is free. To find out more about each of the artists and some of the works you might expect to see from them, please visit the Sway Gallery's page here.

Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 11am-7pm; Tuesday 9 July 11am-8pm; Saturday 12pm-6pm; Sunday CLOSED

Location: Sway Gallery, 70-72 Old Street, London EC1V 9AN

Music & Manga: A Vision of Sound @ Asia House, London, 6:45pm-9pm 11 July 2019

Music & Manga: A Vision of Sound

In collaboration with the Japan Foundation, Asia House will this month welcome award-winning manga artist Ishizuka Shinichi and his editor Katsuki Dai to discuss Ishizuka's successful series 'Blue Giant' and 'Blue Giant Supreme'. 

Centred around Miyamoto Dai, a young saxophonist with a passion for jazz and a dream of becoming the world's best tenor sax player, 'Blue Giant' and 'Blue Giant Supreme' makes for an interesting overlap between manga and music inspired by Ishizuka's own familiarity with the instrument. In this series, Ishizuka visually and explosively replicates sound, vibe and the raw emotion and fervour of jazz through the use of vertical, tightly drawn lines and sound effect symbols.

Ishizuka and Katsuki will discuss the challenges and pleasures of creating a story manga and explore the integral depiction of sound in the series. The discussion will include insights into the collaborative processes and artist-editor relationship in the creation of story manga.

To find out more about 'Music & Manga: A Vision of Sound' and to purchase tickets, please visit Eventbrite's page here

Location: Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1G 7LP

A Secret Beauty: The Spirit of Japanese Maki-e @ SOAS, London, 11 July - 21 September 2019

Spring © KOYANAGI Tanekuni

This summer SOAS will host the stunning lacquer work of Koyanagi Tanekuni, one of Japan's most prolific maki-e — lacquerware decorated in gold and silver particles — artists and a designated Living National Treasure! For half a century Koyanagi has produced both traditional and contemporary lacquer work of the highest technical and artistic standards. 

Lacquer has been used in Japan for almost 10,000 years to protect and decorate objects such as bamboo, earthenware, textiles, and wood and is of such value and prestige in Japanese culture that it was typically owned by those of high status such as emperors, nobilities, shoguns and daimyos.  

Admission to this exhibition is free. To find out more about Koyanagi Tanekuni and some of the other beautiful pieces that will be on show at this exhibition, please visit SOAS' page here.

Opening Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10:30am-5pm; Thursday 10:30am-8pm; Sundays, Mondays and Bank Holidays CLOSED

Location: Brunei Gallery, SOAS University of London, 10 Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

Hyper Japan 2019 @ Olympia London, 12-14 July 2019

Hyper Japan © James Ho

Hyper Japan will celebrate its 10th year in the capital with a truly unique event offering fun for the whole family, be it colourful and kawaii (cute) cosplay, cutting-edge tech or a delicious combination of Japanese food and drink. Featuring well-known performers, exhibitors and creative workshops, Hyper Japan is the ultimate event for certified Japanophiles and those new to Japanese culture alike. Drawing inspiration from traditional as well as futuristic Japan, it introduces both new and established trends in Japan’s music, food, drink, fashion, technology and kawaii scenes - some exhibitors even manage to combine both!

J-style enthusiasts can enjoy the HYPER Kawaii area, which offers a wide selection of clothes, makeup, wigs and accessories guaranteed to turn your wildest costume fantasy into a reality! You'll also be able to browse the many Japan and UK-based fashion stalls  and pick out a new Japanese look for your summer wardrobe.

Hyper Japan will also feature the ever-popular EAT-JAPAN area for those in search of authentic Japanese taste sensations. A varied selection of stalls will offer hot and cold foods including ramen, yaki soba, katsu curry, Japanese sweets and authentic tea - YUM! You can also pre-book tickets to enjoy the Ramen Experience or the Sake Tasting which take place across all three days.

Diverse artisans, practitioners and stallholders offer a rare glimpse into a number of Japan's long-established traditions and cutting-edge innovations, whilst also introducing exciting products and performances which utilise the best of both. Keen to learn more? Head to the HYPER Live! Stage, the HYPER Theatre, the J-Culture Showcase, J-Culture Activity workshops, and the “ASAKUSA” Culture Zone!

For information on ticket prices and entry sessions to the event, please click here

To find out more about Hyper Japan 2019, please click here.

Location: Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, London W14 8UX

Manga Innovations: Talk by Paul GRAVETT @ Japan House London, 6:30pm-7:30pm 18 July 2019

Manga Innovations: Talk by Paul GRAVETT

Combine your visit to Japan House London’s superb manga exhibition 'This is MANGA - the Art of URASAWA NAOKI' with an evening lecture on the development of the art form by international comics art expert Paul Gravett.

Modern manga is said to have developed from a fusion of Japan’s distinctive traditions with cartooning influences imported from the West. From Tezuka Osamu, the ‘God of Manga’, to Urasawa Naoki today, manga has grown exponentially over the years to encompass a variety of different and exciting approaches to storytelling in words and pictures.

In his illustrated lecture, Paul Gravett, a historian and curator specialising in international comics art, explores some of these inspiring innovations, which are transforming how the medium is created and consumed worldwide.

Admission is free but booking is essential so hurry! To find out more, please visit Japan House's page here.

Location: Japan House London, 101-111 Kensington High Street, London W8 5SA

Japanese tableware pop-up by Made In Japan tableware @ Sway Gallery, London, 19-30 July 2019

Japanese tableware pop-up by Made In Japan tableware

Treat yourself to a little retail therapy this July at Sway Gallery where Made in Japan (MIJ) tableware will be running a pop-up stocked with dining plates, ramen bowls, glassware, cups, sauce dishes and more! Everything is affordably priced with ceramics starting at just £6! 

Made In Japan tableware has recently launched in the UK to bring high-quality tableware and homeware directly to our shores from Japan. Much of their tableware can be found only in restaurants and homes in the areas surrounding the makers' kilns so prepare your purses for these super rare, high-quality items!

To find out more about Made In Japan tableware's pop-up, please visit the Sway Gallery's page here

Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 11am-7pm; Saturday 20 July 12pm-6pm; Thursday 25 July 11am-8pm

Location: Sway Gallery, 70-72 Old Street, London EC1V 9AN

Lost in Transition by Vanessa Milito Rodriguez @ Sway Gallery, London, 1-28 August 2019

Lost in Transition by Vanessa Milito Rodriguez

This August head to petit Sway Gallery and discover the colourful world of Vanessa Milito Rodriguez's 'Lost in Transition'. As per the name, 'Lost in Transition' is heavily inspired by Sofia Coppola's cult-classic movie 'Lost in Translation' as well as Vanessa's own personal experiences in Japan; the ‘transition’ exists in discovering and comparing her dreamy preconceptions of Japan inspired by films, photos and the like, and what she actually saw and experienced there. 

'Lost in Transition' celebrates the heady mix between the traditional Japanese culture and the modern pop culture: the common use of blue pays homage to Hokusai's waves whilst pink is a loud shout-out to the captivating neon lights of Shibuya, Tokyo. The artworks are inspired by the works of ukiyo-e masters such as Hokusai and Hasui and some are even created with woodblock prints made during her recent stay in Japan. Expect beautiful watercolour paintings featuring Japanese folk toys such as the kawaii Inu Hariko and Daruma, as well as the artist’s own interpretation of bijinga (images of beautiful women), created with a mix of Japanese markers, Chinese ink and Posca paint.

Admission to this exhibition is free and all artworks will be for sale. To find out more about 'Lost in Transition', please visit the Sway Gallery's page here.

Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 11am-7pm; Saturday 3 August 12pm-6pm; Other Saturdays and Sundays by appointment (buyers only)

Location: Sway Gallery, 70-72 Old Street, London EC1V 9AN

Ainu Othello @ TARA Theatre, London, 7-10 August 2019

Ainu Othello

If you're a budding thespian that just can't get enough of new adaptations of Shakespearean classics then listen up because The Shakespeare Company Japan is making its way to London for 'Ainu Othello' this August!

The year is 1860 and we find ourselves on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Othello is an Ainu, one of the indigenous peoples of northern Japan. He falls in love with a Japanese woman and is betrayed by a friend (Iago) of mixed Ainu and Japanese heritage - as ever, lies, manipulation and discrimination are aplenty in this spectacular performance of Shakespeare's classic tragedy.

With the recent recognition of the Ainu as the indigenous people of Japan, 'Ainu Othello' offers a unique angle through which to explore the Ainu's turbulent history and celebrate their struggle to protect their beautiful culture. The performance will also be in Japanese so you may find the play's message ironically more poignant! 

For ticketing and sessions info, please visit TARA Theatre's page here

Location: TARA Theatre, 356 Garratt Lane, London SW18 4ES

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