Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Mizuki at Marchen

The Marchen (pronounced "meruhen") Children's museum is located at the eastern foot of Shiroyama hill, close to the prefectural art museum, and the Reimeikan history museum. Marchen has a large library of books from Kagoshima writers, a children's play space, and a moderately-large exhibit space on the second floor.

From July 20 to Sept. 3, Marchen is host to the 53 Stations of Yokaido, a parody of Hiroshige's The 53 Stations of the Toukaidou, by Shigeru Mizuki. The original series by Hiroshige is a set of Ukiyo-e woodblock prints showing the rest stops on the great road between Osaka and Edo (present-day Tokyo). Mizuki (1922-2015) was a manga artist, creator of Gegege Kitaro, and a big fan of Japanese-style supernatural creatures (yokai). So, "yokai-do" essentially translates as "monster road".

Naturally, the exhibit features Mizuki's own creations - Kitaro, Nezumi-Otoko (Rat-man), Neko-musume (Cat-girl) and the others.

Itai-momen (the Cloth Sheet monster).

Mizuki's map to yokai around Japan is located at the entrance to the exhibit space.

Most of the main exhibit area was "no cameras," but there were a few photo-op spots, such as with Nurukabe (wet wall monster).

I kind of took advantage of the proximity of the other artwork to Nurukabe to include some of that stuff in the photos. Part of the exhibit showed the birth of Kitaro, and some of his many friends and enemies.

This is a sample of the Yokaido pictures. Each one is a woodblock print, and is accompanied by a copy of the Hiroshige print it parodies. Some of the Yokaido prints are really well executed, and contain all the elements of Hiroshige's originals.

They also had Kitaro's tree house.

And a 2'-tall scale model of Hell as it appears in part of Kitaro's universe.

(Kitaro, Neko-musume and a random monster.)

The exhibit also had the original artwork for one of the earlier Kitaro manga. That was the best part for me. At the end of the route was a gift shop with lots of plush dolls, artwork, books and other toys. I've got no place to keep anything, so I didn't buy any of the larger stuff. Actually, I saw several people buying 500-yen chances at a lottery for plushies, and I decided to try my hand at it, too. I got the "thanks for playing prize" - a small cloth Kitaro carry bag and a clear file. Not really worth $5, but I can use both items.

(Clear file, front)

(Clear file, back)

(Front of the carry bag.)

(Front of the Marchen flier.)

(Back of the Marchen flier.)

(Exhibit ticket.)

The 53 Stages of Yokai-do is recommended for anyone that's in Kagoshima (or will be between now and September) and likes the Kitaro manga. I had fun. 600 yen for adults, 300 for students. Regular museum hours (closed Tuesdays, except open Aug. 14 and then closed Aug. 16).

1 comment:

Kuwabara said...

I’d be very interested in seeing this exhibit. I’ll be traveling through Japan later in the year. Do you know where I might find a schedule so you I might find it after August?