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Museum Explores Japan's Old Capital through Manga

posted on by Egan Loo
Manga scrolls, toys depict "The Refined, The Supernatural, The Kitsch" of Kyoto

The Kyoto International Manga Museum has opened Heian Manga Emaki — Miyabi, Ikai, Kitsch (Manga Scrolls of the Heian Era — The Refined, The Supernatural, The Kitsch), a three-month exhibit that explores the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto through some of the earliest manga ever made. The first section, "Genji to Ōchō Bunka" ("Genji and the Dynastic Culture"), examines the fine culture of historical Kyoto through an illustrated scroll reproduction of the literary classic, The Tale of Genji. Due to the sheer length of the scrolls, only one of four five-meter-plus segments will be displayed every three weeks.

The "Akki Ugomeku Ōmiya no Yami" (The Darkness in the Royal Capital Where Evil Spirits Lurk) section delves into the supernatural aspects of Kyoto made famous by Baku Yumemakura and Reiko Okano's manga Onmyōji, ghost stories, and other tales of the bizarre. The exhibit describes Abe no Seimei, the historical occult figure seen in Onmyōji, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Otogi Zoshi, and Shin Getter Robo, as a real-life "ghostbuster." One of the highlights is a diorama of a traditional "monster parade" (similar to the one seen in Pom Poko) with toys from the Kaiyodo Figure Museum.

The third section, Kitsch the Kyoto, shines a spotlight on the 1,200-year history of odd and colorful souvenirs from Kyoto. In particular, the befuddling "yuru-chara" ("weak" mascot characters) that illustrator and native son Jun Miura created to promote local Kyoto culture are on display. Miura himself will appear at a discussion on December 14.

The exhibit is open from October 25 until January 18 of next year, except for the New Year's holiday break.

Source: Kyoto Shimbun

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