Manga on the Museum 博物館の漫画 I Curator’s Nook season four episode 7

published on July 3, 2020

Who would think that Buddha and Jesus
would be taking a gap year in downtown Tokyo?

I'm Nicole Rousmaniere I'm the IFAC Handa curator of Japanese arts

Welcome to my corner

Japanese manga is a very specific way of storytelling

and what's so compelling about it is that it really draws you in

and these stories are everyday stories,
they're historical stories

they're fictional stories, they're ghost stories, they're stories that are really from Japan

or Japan's interaction with other countries

And this really is a potent form that we think fits very well with the British Museum's collecting practice

The British Museum is not so
much about the object itself,

it's about the hand that made that object, it's about what those objects tell us about the culture

it's about what we can communicate through these objects what are people when they're looking at this

what do they see, what do they read and what does it tell us

and manga is a particularly powerful form because it is so visually graphic

Neil MacGregor, the former director of the British Museum

said I would like a manga of the British Museum, it was amazing that he thought of that

and I went, obviously, to Hoshino Yukinobu His drawing is exquisite he just makes history come alive

he makes these stories that are just so compelling that you have to read them

and we thought he would be perfect

It took us a year to to get through but
we finally did and in 2009 after a visit to Sapporo

to his studio to tell him about the British Museum we managed to entice him for the first time to England

These are two drawings that Hoshino sensei made for us at the British Museum and are in our collections now

He created these from the second trip to the British Museum to do further research

This is a typical gag manga this is Professor munakata looking at the Rosetta stone but the writing is gone

and he's actually turned into the
rosetta stone but if you look at this one

I think this one is particularly
important, here we have professor Munakata

pointing out across the ocean
we're thinking of him perhaps in Japan

pointing out towards us or maybe he's in
British Museum pointing out towards Japan

we have our Japanese, part of our
Japanese armour right here that's in the collection

the Sutton Hoo helmet is looming large and something has shifted if we look very carefully

we see Britain, we see Europe and what he's saying is through the objects in the British Museum

you see the world what's different about the British Museum to other museums is you can look at these

treasures from and and really important
objects from all different parts of the world

and you find out about yourself It's not about you can find out about them

but it's more about kind of an internal exploration so through the objects

we see what we are, we see what
other people are and we come out somehow changed

This may be a bit of a surprise
but I think you'll enjoy it

Nakamura Hikaru is a young female artist
who's incredibly talented she her series

Arakawa under the bridge talked about a
homeless group of people that was living

under a bridge in Tokyo, her other very
very hot series which also started in a

different magazine called morning sue
this one is published by Kodansha

chronicles Buddha and Jesus taking a gap year in downtown Tokyo they're living in a very small flat

right here and here they're having dinner together and they always wear fantastic t-shirt slogan t-shirts

and go through very many different types of adventures and issues together

So this series has been quite compelling you can see Jesus and Buddha creating manga together

actually it's Buddha who is really
interested in be coming a Manga artist

they have all sorts of different
adventures, going to different places

but what I really wanted to explain is how
manga can take topics that are taboo

topics that are emotional topics, that
are very close to one's heart that you

normally can't speak about and yet they
can, through their magic of the line

and through the storylines and also the
visual power can really shift your ideas about things

Who would think that Buddha and Jesus would be taking a gap year in downtown Tokyo?

Who would think that they were having this adventure? who would think

that they would have a debate if they see a cockroach in their bedding whether it should be killed or not?

These topics actually can seem ridiculous or spurious but they're actually quite deep

and and they're quite doctrinal Nakamura sensei works with scholars and and does a lot of research

and so her work is quite sensitive it's not provocative in a bad way

what it's trying to do is is make us look and rethink about things

Manga is often about disasters, there are many Mangas about the Fukushima disaster 3/11

but also about Hiroshima many of
you may know, Barefoot Gen

some of these Mangas are incredibly sad, some of them are really painful

but what's more important is that they're cathartic, through them we can release our fears,

through them we can rethink our ideas, through them we have a space to to find our own beliefs

and our own imagination I believe all of you can find your own Manga,

there is a manga for everyone and what's so exciting about what we're doing at the British Museum

is we're trying to bring this to you and and show you that there is a choice and show you the role

that Manga plays not just in Japan but worldwide and now growingly on the web

Thank you very much for joining me on our Manga adventure today

There are many more curators that are
doing many different types of adventures

through the British Museum YouTube
channel, I hope you'll all subscribe

but first of all I want you to tell us what
you would like to see, what is your favorite Manga

and what manga you would like to see the British Museum collect

please write it in on the comment section and subscribe to the YouTube channel of the British Museum, thanks

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