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

Where manga-cute meets horror: Junko Mizuno

Junko MizunoCovent Garden is a home from home for me. There’s hardly a day goes by that I’m not down there for dance classes of one kind or another, or meeting up with friends for dinner. So when I heard that manga graphic novelist Junko Mizuno would be exhibiting at the Atomica Gallery in Short’s Gardens, it was the work of a moment to pop in to take a look. After all, the gallery is right next to my hairdressers. Continue reading

Henry Sotheran Japanese Prints

Henry Southeran Japanese PrintsWhen we think of Japanese prints it’s usually ukiyo-e, traditional ‘floating world’ woodblock prints of actors and kimono-clad beauties, that come to mind. But Henry Sotheran’s current show of twentieth century Japanese prints includes not just traditionally-made woodblock prints of flowers and landscapes, but Studio Ghibli storyboards and hand drawn anime and manga cels as well. They’re for sale, and they’re pretty reasonably priced. Continue reading