COOL JAPAN - finished

This exhibition is closed


Worldwide Fascination in Focus

Pokémon, Hello Kitty, robots and samurai – all international icons of Japanese visual culture. Japan is known for its ancient traditions, and yet it is also hip and happening, with occasional extravagant visual excesses. A major exhibition entitled COOL JAPAN: Worldwide Fascination in Focus was on display untill the 29th of October 2017. It highlighted the popularity of contemporary Japan, and place it in a historical context.

Historical and contemporary

From the instantly recognisable Japanese horror to ‘cute fashion’ from the streets of Tokyo, COOL JAPAN brings it all together. With top historical items from its world-famous Japanese collection, Museum Volkenkunde showed that today’s icons are part of a long tradition. The exhibition featured both contemporary art and work by Katsushika Hokusai, known as the ‘Rembrandt of Japan’. The most eye-catching exhibit was the four-metre tall painting Uki-Uki by Matsuura Hiroyuki, featuring old and new elements (a traditional kimono and manga), in a perfect illustration of the exhibition’s core message.

Fans of Japanese popular culture were delighted by the original drawings and designs for classic manga, anime and games such as Death Note, Princess Mononoke and Final Fantasy. Clips from influential feature animations were screened.

For fans and newcomers

There were lots to see and lots to do. Visitors could game to their heart’s content on classic arcade machines and the latest game computers. Comic book fanatics were able to choose from thousands of mangas. A whole range of activities and events took place on the theme of Japanese culture. COOL JAPAN was and is a spectacular and exquisitely designed exhibition for both fans and newcomers, young and old.

COOL JAPAN will be on show at Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden untill the 29th of October 2017.

COOL JAPAN is sponsored by the Blockbusterfonds, the BankGiroLoterij, and  the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund.