Siro-A : Bizarre Comical Techno Fun

Siro-AContinuing the theatrical theme of my last post, if you’re still looking for a Christmas show with a Japanese twist, I can thoroughly recommend Siro-A at the Leicester Square Theatre. It’s usually billed as ‘Japan’s answer to the Blue Man Group’, which isn’t a lot of help if you don’t know much about the Blue Man Group. So here’s a guide to what you can expect from Siro-A’s ‘technodelic’ show. Continue reading

A Samurai Rabbit hits the London Stage

Usagi YojimboUsagi Yojimbo (Rabbit Bodyguard) is a comic book series that originates, not in Japan, home of manga and anime, but in the USA. It’s the creation of Japanese-American artist Stan Sakai. Set in the samurai era, it features stories from Japanese history and folklore and is so faithful to the period that it won a Parents Choice award for educational value. And now it’s the Christmas show at the Southwark Playhouse. Continue reading

Japanese bone china from Stoke on Trent

Reiko KanekoWhen I think of Japanese pottery, I tend to think of just that – pottery. Usually thick, earthy pots made in traditional kilns, either by professional potters in the old kiln areas of Japan who’ve handed their skills down the generations, or craft potters who work in the Japanese tradition of wabi-sabi. But today I’m covering something different; a Japanese designer who works in the English tradition in that most English of pottery towns, Stoke on Trent. Continue reading

Momosan shop opens in Hackney

Momosan shopThose of you who are familiar with Hackney Central will know that it’s a bit of a walk from Bethnal Green, which is something Yannick and I found out the hard way when our never-ending search for Mashiko pottery for sale in London led us to Momosan’s new shop on Wilton Way. But never mind; we saw the sights of Hackney, although not, oddly enough, Wilton’s Music Hall which is in a different part of London entirely. We settled for the Hackney Empire. Continue reading

Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Double-frozen Still Life

Alaskan Wolves (1994), Hiroshi Sugimoto © Hiroshi Sugimoto

Alaskan Wolves (1994), Hiroshi Sugimoto © Hiroshi Sugimoto

Sometimes I go looking for art in small, hidden galleries; sometimes I trek off to the farthest reaches of London; but for this exhibition, all I had to do was stroll round to the back of the Royal Academy on Piccadilly, go in through the grand portals of their Burlington Gardens gallery, ignore the imposing staircase straight ahead and take a sharp right into the Pace Gallery where the work of Hiroshi Sugimoto is currently on display. Continue reading

An Artistic Afternoon on the Necropolis Railway

Makespace StudiosLast Saturday I went to the Makespace Studios Christmas Open Studio because a friend of mine, Hiroko Imada, now has a studio there. I wrote about her work before when she was at the Palace Wharf Studio, sadly now being knocked down to make way for luxury flats, but found her new studios even more interesting. Want to know about the Necropolis railway? Read on. Continue reading

Classical and Contemporary Japanese Pottery

Japanese PotteyI’ve been wanting to visit the Harlequin Gallery, which deals in classical and contemporary studio pottery and ceramics, for a long time as they have an interesting collection of Japanese pottery for sale, but they exhibit in Central London only rarely. However, last week they had a brief show in Shepherd’s Market, so Yannick and I rushed down to see what was on offer. Continue reading

Gekiga: manga’s dark and brooding shadow

GekigaEver wondered how cartoon books moved from being simple entertainment for kids to being a leading 21st century art form? Well, it began with the manga movement in Japan in the 1950’s, led by the creative genius of Osamu Tezuka, the ‘God of Manga’, creator of Astro Boy, and Machiko Hasegawa, who created the massively popular cartoon character Sazae-san. But there was a darker strand of manga too, one that was born in the harsh days that followed the Japanese defeat in the Second World War, known as gekiga. The story of gekiga is told in an exhibition of original magazines at the Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury. Continue reading

Junko O’Neill – Peaceful Portraits of Space

Junko O'Neill Shower of Rainbow 1It’s nearly two years since I first saw Junko O’Neill’s dreamy landscapes and abstracts so I was interested to see what has changed in her latest exhibition. Size, for one thing. ‘It was hard to store large canvases,’ she told me, laughing a little ruefully. ‘And my husband said “Can’t you paint something smaller?” Smaller is better for customers too.’ Not that her new work is tiny, but it will certainly fit your walls nicely. Continue reading

Hyper Japan does Christmas!

Hyper Japan plushiesHyper Japan is is the biggest show of Japanese goods and culture in the UK, and this year we’ve got an extra dose of it in the Hyper Japan Christmas Market at Kensington Olympia. (Not Earl’s Court like the main show – boy, am I glad I checked the location before I set out.) It’s got everything you expect from Hyper Japan – games, cosplay, sake, martial arts, J-pops and a whole lot more, including an incredible range of ideas for presents for the Japanophile in your life. Want to know what I picked? Read on. Continue reading