Pacific Asia Museum Proudly Presents The Samurai Re-Imagined: From Ukiyo-e to Anime

February 19, 2009 – August 9, 2009

Rurouni Kenishin, Japan, 20th century, animation cel, On loan by Private Collection

Pasadena, CA – Pacific Asia Museum – Like the cowboy of the American West, the Japanese samurai has come to occupy a grand image in the popular imagination. And, just as the myth of the cowboy has grown and changed since the closing of the frontier, popular re-interpretations of the samurai have proliferated since the end of their military and social functions in the mid-1800s.

The Samurai Re-Imagined: From Ukiyo-e to Anime uses the image of the iconic samurai warrior to explore the roots of the popular Japanese art forms of manga (graphic novels) and anime (animation). By juxtaposing traditional and contemporary works of art -- woodblock prints with animation cels, for example -- the exhibition creates a visual history demonstrating the links between fine art and popular culture.

The roots of manga and anime can be traced back to “funny animal” scrolls, traditional calligraphy, monochromatic ink painting, and Ukiyo-e woodblock prints. When Kenshin Himura battles evil forces in the anime Rurouni Kenshin, his fighting stance recalls the 19th century woodblock prints of Yoshitoshi and Kuniyoshi. The way Jin wields his katana (sword) in the anime series Samurai Champloo echoes a samurai created by Toyokuni III, a woodblock print artist of the 19th century.

Despite these historic origins, the world of serious art has paid little attention to anime and manga. While a few exhibits have traveled to the West from Japan, The Samurai Re-Imagined is the first to present these art forms in the context of continuing Japanese artistic traditions.

The exhibit includes woodblock prints and paintings along with samurai swords and accoutrements from Pacific Asia Museum's collection; plus animation productions cels and drawings, motion picture stills, posters, toys, and comic books and manga on loan from private collections.

EVENTS – In addition to the exhibition, the museum is hosting a series of public programs and events revolving around anime, manga, and Japanese popular culture.

February 19 Members' Only Event
6-8pm Celebrate the opening of The Samurai Re-Imagined: From Ukiyo-e to Anime!

February 27 Curator's Tour
1pm Explore The Samurai Re-Imagined with Dr. Deborah Deacon


March 7 & 14 UCLA Extension Course Lecture, Drawing a Revolution: A History of Japanese Anime and Manga 
This two-part course begins with a classroom discussion examining the roots of anime and manga. Part two includes a field trip to the Pacific Asia Museum and a tour of The Samurai Re-Imagined from Ukiyo-e to Anime. Contact UCLA Extension for more information. HYPERLINK ""
March 14, 12 noon-4pm Japanimation Festival
Join our FREE Family Festival and celebrate The Samurai Re-Imagined. Enjoy performances, crafts, demonstrations, exhibitions, and more. Free for all ages.
March 21 Discussion, Games People Play
Join game designer Alexei Othenin-Girard as he discusses the history and development of game design. The event is followed by a workshop on the fundamentals of game design.
March 22, 3pm Authors on Asia, Stan Sakai 
Critically acclaimed and multi-award winning creator of the popular Usagi Yojimbo series will discuss and sign his books, which feature Miyamoto Usagi, the rabbit ronin (leaderless samurai). Mr. Sakai will also include a demonstration of his art. Reservations strongly recommended for this program, as space is limited.
May 2, 1pm Curator's Tour 
Explore The Samurai Re-Imagined with Julian Bermudez.

May 14- July 23 Anime Film Festival 
Seven films, five nights, and lots of fun! Enjoy early Japanese cartoons such as Momotaro's Sky Adventure (1931) by Yasuji Murata and The Animal Village in Trouble by Sanae Yamamoto along with popular films including Samurai X and Gundam Wing: The Movie.
May 23 Student Animation Festival- one night only! 
Celebrate the art of animation with new short fi lms created by local students inspired by artwork from Pacific Asia Museum. Award winners will be announced prior to the screenings.
July 25, 1pm Curator's Tour 
Explore The Samurai Re-Imagined with Julian Bermudez.

The Samurai Re-Imagined: From Ukiyo-e to Anime is co-curated by Julian Bermudez and Deborah Deacon, PhD, and funded through the generous support of The Blakemore Foundation, Union Bank of California, The City of Pasadena Arts and Culture Department, and Pacific Asia Museum's Japanese Arts Council. Additional support provided by The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation.

Pacific Asia Museum is one of only four institutions in the United States dedicated exclusively to the arts and culture of Asia and the Pacific Islands. The museum's mission is to further cultural awareness and understanding through the arts. Since 1971, Pacific Asia Museum has served a broad audience of students, families, adults, and scholars through its education and outreach programs.

Pacific Asia Museum is at 46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, California 91101. Museum opens Wednesday through Sunday 10 am to 6 pm. Admission is $7 general, $5 students/seniors, and free for children ages 11 and younger. Admission is free every 4th Friday of the month.

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