Manga*Anime*Games from Japan


Transcending the boundaries of each individual medium to realize unparalleled artistic expressions, Japanese manga, anime, and games are reflective of social change and technological development. They also present us with an expanded version of reality and a window on the future. Moreover, the characters that appear in these works have the ability to move beyond their fictional realms and become an actual presence in our daily lives.
Since noted manga and anime artist Tezuka Osamu died in 1989, Japan has suffered several earthquakes and terrorist attacks. At the same time, we have benefitted from a variety of technological advances such as the popularization of the Internet and smart phones – developments that have drastically altered our lifestyles and consciousness. Exposure to contemporary manga, anime, and games can also help us gain insight into many and diverse aspects of Japanese society.
Focusing on the 25-year period from 1989 to the present, this unprecedented exhibition presents a comprehensive survey of Japanese manga, anime, and games – three genres that have evolved into an integrated form of media expression – and provides viewers with an opportunity to rediscover their imaginations and creativity.

Dates June 24 (Wed.)-August 31 (Mon.), 2015
Closed on Tuesdays
Opening hours 10:00-18:00 *10:00-20:00 on Fridays
(Last admission 30 minutes before closing)
Venue The National Art Center, Tokyo (Kokuritsu-Shin-Bijutsukan), Special Exhibition Gallery 1E
7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan 106-8558
Organized by The National Art Center, Tokyo
Planning The Media Art Internationalization Promotion Executive Committee (In cooperation with The National Art Center, Tokyo, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, and CG-ARTS)
Admission(tax included)
General 1,000yen(Adults), 500yen(College students)
Advance/Group 800 yen(Adults), 300 yen(College students)
  • Visitors who are under 18, including high school students and disabled people with ID booklets (along with one assistant) will be admitted free.
  • Group tickets will only be available at the venue (discounts only applicable to groups of 20 or more).
  • Tickets both Advance and General are available through Lawson Ticket (L-code: 39553) , eplus, e-tix and tixee. Service charges may apply. *These services are only available in Japanese.
  • Advance tickets can be purchased through the above services and at the National Art Center, Tokyo from April 29 (Wed.), 2015 to June 23 (Tue.), 2015 (only until June 22(Mon.)at the National Art Center, Tokyo)
  • Visitors who present a ticket or ticket stub from another exhibition currently underway at the National Art Center, Tokyo, the Suntory Museum or the Mori Art Museum (the three facilities that make up the Roppongi Art Triangle) will be eligible for the group discount.
  • Visitors 65 and over (I.D. with proof of age required) who present a ticket stub from artist associations’ exhibition held at the National Art Center, Tokyo during "Manga*Anime*Games from Japan" will be admitted to the exhibition at the college student group rate.
  • For students, faculty and staff, of “Campus Members”, group discounts are applies for purchasing tickets.
  • Credit card (UC, Master Card, VISA, JCB, AMEX, Diners Club, DISCOVER)and e-cash (Suica, PASMO, ICOCA, etc.) and iD and J-Debit and UnionPay are available for purchasing tickets.
Inquiries Tel: +81 (0)3-5405-8686 (Hello Dial)

Exhibition Outline

Divided into eight sections, this exhibition, focusing on manga, anime, and games that were produced between 1989 and the present, examines the relationship between works as well as the relationship between society, technology, and works of the same era. (Note: The order and titles of the following sections are subject to change.)

Section 1: Contemporary Heroes and Heroines

Friendship, a sense of justice, and adventure: In Section 1, the prologue to the exhibition, we introduce notable heroes and heroines that have emerged since 1989 while also examining some of the righteous and passionate themes that have remained constant in manga, anime, and games.

Section 2: “Reality” as Depicted by Technology: The World of Works and Visual Expression

Since the 1990s, the development of information technology and expansion of the Internet have drastically affected the ways in which we communicate and share information, and the speed of information transmission. Moreover, advances in digital video technology continue to provide us with new possibilities in visual expression. In Section 2, we examine works imbued with a worldview that is rooted in technological developments such as virtual reality, augmented reality, robots, and network society. We also present works that make use of digital video techniques such as 3D computer graphics as a production method.

Section 3: The Fruits of a Network Society

Digital production techniques and the growth of Internet society changed the way in which manga, anime, and games are created and shared. This led to a direct link between the creators and users (readers, viewers, players) – a relationship which in turn produced a cycle of feedback that influenced subsequent works. One might say that Internet-based information sharing and communication functions as the soil that cultivates new manga, anime, and games. In Section 3, we examine works that have grown out of new production processes rooted in net society, including manga, anime, and games created by individuals and small groups of enthusiasts, and those that were derived from other works.

Section 4: Encounters and Gatherings: Games as “Places”

For many years, games have been widely perceived as a form of amusement enjoyed by one person shut up in a room. In fact, communication is an indispensable part of the game world, whether it involves borrowing the body of a character (via the controller) to confront an opponent by speaking with your “fists,” or working to accomplish a mission by cooperating with your “comrades” on the Internet. In the field of music games, there are also many examples of works in which playing itself constitutes a performance. Individual players do not merely play, they assume the role of performers and take a leading part in expanding the “completed version” of the work. This in turn leads to a shared experience involving both the player and the audience. In Section 4, we examine the evolution of games that function as communication sites.

Section 5: The World: A Place Where Characters Dwell

Manga, anime, and games provide us with an opportunity to pursue dreams that would normally be difficult to realize such as becoming the manager of a professional baseball team or the producer of an idol singer. Due to creative and technical advances that make it possible for characters to sing and dance, music has become an important character trait. Using the Vocaloid software “Hatsune Miku,” users can literally produce music, and by releasing their songs on the Internet, they can also become a producer in the truest sense of the word.
Since the ’90s, characters no longer have to belong to a given story. When a group of characters with a variety of traits gather, a “world” or space for them to dwell in emerges and a narrative unfolds as a group performance. In some cases, users enter this world, and in other cases, they observe it with a bird’s-eye view. In Section 5, we present works that depict worlds populated by a variety of characters such as budding idols, pro baseball players, racehorses, and historical figures.

Section 6: The Intersection of the Ordinary and Extraordinary

In Section 6, we introduce works featuring a variety of narrative structures in which the ordinary intermingles with the extraordinary. Ordinary life and landscapes are depicted along with extraordinary narrative elements, reducing the distance between the viewer and the work, and imbuing it with a sense of reality as a familiar entity. In addition, extraordinary aspects that are woven into ordinary depictions raise questions about a unified world of fact and fiction. Here, we examine manga, anime, and games in which the ordinary and extraordinary intersect in a variety of ways. Some of these works present us with mysterious situations in which human relations, the most ordinary element of all, is closely linked to something extraordinary.

Section 7: A Link to Reality

Manga, anime, and games can be greatly affected by the real world. Earthquakes and other disasters, for example, have had a particularly strong impact. Of the three genres, manga tends to respond more quickly to social conditions, leading to works that deal with a diverse range of subject matter. In addition to themes such as school, romance, and sports, which have been depicted in countless manga over the years, the ’90s saw the rise of works with a greater diversity and more direct connection to society. These included themes such as working, creating, and inheriting Japanese traditional culture. In Section 7, we focus on manga based on a wide range of realistic themes.

Section 8: The Creator’s Handiwork

Aspects such as drawing and panel layout in manga, movement and color schemes in anime, and realistic visual expression in games could never have been achieved through the evolution of information and imaging technology alone. It is, of course, the techniques and ideas of the creators themselves that have given rise to these unparalleled visual expressions and exerted a powerful emotional impact on their viewers. In the final section of the exhibition, we examine the unique handiwork of these individuals in examples of their work.

List of works


The NACT Art Guide Manga*Anime*Games from Japan

This guidebook will help you look the exhibition "Manga*Anime*Games from Japan" through introducing the themes of 8 sections by the form of manga.

Guidebook(6MB) Download

Related Event

Manga*Anime*Games from Japan Exhibition Symposium “From Japan to the World- Cultural Transmission and Exchanges through Manga, Anime and Games”

Transcending the boundaries of each individual medium to realize unparalleled artistic expressions, Japanese manga, anime, and games are reflective of social change and technological development. They also present us with an expanded version of reality and a window on the future. Moreover, the characters that appear in these works have the ability to move beyond their fictional realms and become an actual presence in our daily lives.
In this Symposium, we will invite both Japanese and foreign specialists from a variety of fileds to engage in a lively discussion. Topics will include the reception of Japanese manga, anime, and games in foreign countries the situation surrounding museums in each region, and the manner in which Japanese culture is transmitted from both a domestic and international perspective.

Date February 4 (Wed.), 2015 13:00 – 16:30 (open at 12:30)
Venue Auditorium (3F), The National Art Center, Tokyo (limited to 220 people)
*Language: Japanese (English simultaneous interpretation provided)


Manga*Anime*Games from Japan  Public Presentation for exhibition

Date February 4 (Wed.), 2015 17:00 - 18:00 (Reception desk open at 16:45)
Venue Auditorium (3F), The National Art Center, Tokyo
The symposium will be followed by a Public Presentation for the exhibition.
*All events are subject to changes in time and content.