RETRO HORROR: Supernatural and the Occult in Postwar Japanese Manga
October 18, 2019 – January 24, 2020
RETRO HORROR: Supernatural and the Occult in Postwar Japanese Manga explores the horror manga of postwar Japan. The exhibition focuses on three artists—Tsunezo Murotani (b. 1934), Hideshi Hino (b. 1946) and Ochazukenori (b. 1960)—each representing a different phase of the genre from the 1960s to the 1990s. Notably, this will be the first-ever showing of both Tsunezo Murotani and Ochazukenori’s original works outside of Japan.
RETRO HORROR features over 70 original genga drawings by Tsunezo Murotani and Ochazukenori, reproductions of iconic works by Hideshi Hino, and publications by artists including Junji Ito, Tezuka Osamu, Kazuo Umezu and Masako Watanabe. The exhibition also features a manga reading lounge, with 80+ horror manga classics in English and Japanese available to browse.
Ochazukenori (b. 1960) began creating manga as a child, and made his professional debut in 1980. Initially focussing on sci-fi manga, Ochazukenori first ventured into horror with The Horror Mansion (Zangekikan) in 1996. He is known for his depictions of splatter and gore, and for psychothriller narratives that portray the hidden madness lurking in the human psyche. Ochazukenori has also created films based on his manga, including The Blinds (Blaindo) and The Horror Mansion (Zangekikan). His other manga titles include Mayoko-chan, TVO and Dictionary of Darkness (Ankoku Jiten).
Hideshi Hino (b. 1946) had his first manga published in 1967. In 1970, he released Zoroku’s Strange Disease (Zoroku no Kibyo), which set him on course as a horror manga artist. Hideshi Hino’s prolific creation of work exploring horror and the emotions has earned him a cult following. He continues to experiment with new forms of expression and has recently released a picture book. His best-known works include Panorama of Hell (Jigoku-hen) and The Red Snake (Akai Hebi).
Tsunezo Murotani (b. 1934) made his debut in 1953 with historical manga, and went on to primarily produce historical manga and ‘gag’ (humorous/slapstick) manga. With the 1959 release of a thriller about a man who became a fly (Fly-Man from Hell), he made his first foray into horror manga. In 1967, he released his best-known work, Hell Boy (Jigoku-kun), which is still in print today and has remained a favourite in Japan for generations.
“RETRO HORROR showcases the power of modern horror manga to evoke visceral responses in readers across generations and cultures.
Horror manga can be described as manga that seeks to frighten or disturb the reader. Its various subgenres include occult, splatter and psychothrillers. Precursors to horror manga include ghost stories (known as kaidan or kwaidan) and illustrated scrolls depicting supernatural beings (known as yokai). These early forms of otherworldly tales have influenced the horror manga genre, which can be seen to continue their legacy.
Horror manga has never experienced a real boom in Japan, but nonetheless has steadily continued to be produced over the decades. For this reason, it attracted the attention of late manga critic Yoshihiro Yonezawa (1953-2006), and his book ‘The History of Postwar Horror Manga’ is seen as the definitive record of the genre’s developments and influences. This exhibition has its roots in Yonezawa’s work.
To my mind, the appeal of horror manga lies in allowing yourself as the reader to be affected by expressions of the frightening or inexplicable, which are designed by the artists to provoke an instinctive response. I hope that this exhibition deepens your interest in horror manga.”
Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subcultures
Meiji University, Tokyo
RETRO HORROR is organised in cooperation with the Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subcultures, based on its 2018 exhibition Yoshihiro Yonezawa’s ‘History of Postwar Horror Manga’, with support from the Meiji University Modern Manga Library.
The exhibition is part of The Japan Foundation, Sydney’s HORROR MANGA JAPAN event program, which is being held to coincide with the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Japan Supernatural exhibition and the JFF Classics film program, Grief and Vengeance: Otherworldly Tales.
October 18 (Friday), 2019
6:00pm – 8:00pm
(Curator address at 6:30pm)
Free; no RSVP required
See HORROR MANGA JAPAN program
*Hours extended until 8pm: Oct 21 – Dec 12
**Closed from 3pm on Nov 29 for event preparation
Closed on Sundays, Dec 6 (for exhibit changeover) and Dec 21 – Jan 5 holiday period
The Japan Foundation, Sydney
Level 4, Central Park
28 Broadway, Chippendale NSW 2008
(02) 8239 0055
Due to restrictions on the length of time that colour genga can be exhibited, there will be a changeover of colour genga works on December 6. As a result, colour genga works on display in the gallery may differ at times from those shown on this website or in related promotional material.
Top images (L to R) from:
Hell Boy (Jigoku-kun), © Tsunezo Murotani;
Panorama of Hell (Jigoku-hen), © Hideshi Hino;
Dictionary of Darkness (Ankoku Jiten), © Ochazukenori.