Starting May 23, the British Museum has been hosting “The Citi Exhibition Manga,” the largest exhibition of comic-book art form to have been staged outside Japan that includes some 50 artists and 70 artworks, spanning anything from Hokusai, the 19th century ukiyo-e painter to modern classic Osamu Tezuka and one of the latest, Eiichiro Oda, just to name a few.
The front hall of the museum is decked with images of the heroin from "Golden Kamui" display, which was selected by the curators as the key visual. Six rooms will take you through the history of manga and its relationships with the societies. The last room explains about how the culture stemming from manga has spread throughout the world, with games, TV shows/movies and cosplays.
Manga is accessible and easily available; most high-street bookshops have shelves of the stuff, much more than western graphic novels. In Japan, manga has been readily recognised as having an important and positive role to play in children’s education and development. Indeed, a few years ago the Japanese academic Yuichi Higuchi wrote an essay titled Are You A Bad Parent?, which chided adults who denied their children access to manga.
The cultural dialogue should conclude that manga has indeed earned its place in the British Museum. Manga endures and thrives, and its influence is spreading. Young people enjoy manga in its original form, translated yet not appropriated.