For Immediate Release | October 9, 2019
RETRO HORROR: Supernatural and the Occult in Postwar Japanese Manga
October 18, 2019 – January 24, 2020
Halloween is just around the corner, making it the perfect time to visit The Japan Foundation, Sydney’s upcoming exhibition, RETRO HORROR: Supernatural and the Occult in Postwar Japanese Manga. The exhibition focuses on three manga artists—Tsunezo Murotani (b. 1934), Hino Hideshi (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.
According to curator Noriaki Suzuki from the Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subcultures, horror manga has never been widely popular in Japan, but been produced steadily over the years. In fact, the genre can be seen as continuing the legacy of early forms of otherwordly tales such as ghost stories (known as kaidan or kwaidan) and illustrated scrolls depicting supernatural beings known as yokai.
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. In addition, attendees can enjoy the manga reading lounge, with 80+ horror manga classics in English and Japanese available to browse, and a wall-sized reproduction of an iconic piece by Hideshi Hino, perfect for taking commemorative selfies.
Curator Noriaki Suzuki will hold two gallery talks discussing the works featured on October 19 – one in Japanese with an English interpreter, followed by one in Japanese only. The exhibition is complemented by an extensive event program titled Horror Manga Japan, including talks, a manga drawing workshop, and retro radio-style live ghost story readings.
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.
RETRO HORROR is part of the HORROR MANGA JAPAN event program, which explores hidden corners of Japanese horror manga through talks, a workshop, and more from October 18, 2019 to January 24, 2020. This program is being run in parallel with the Japan Supernatural exhibition at The Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Japanese Film Festival 2019 Classics program, titled Grief and Vengeance: Otherwordly Tales.
Oct 18, 2019 – Jan 24, 2020
October 18, 6pm – 8pm
Curator’s address from 6:30pm
Free; no RSVP required
@ 11:30am (w/ English interpreter)
@ 12:30pm (Japanese only)
Free; no RSVP required
See HORROR MANGA JAPAN event program
ABOUT TSUNEZO MUROTANI
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.
ABOUT HIDESHI HINO
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).
Ochazukenori (b. 1960) began creating manga as a child, and made his professional debut in 1984. Initially focussing on sci-fi manga, Ochazukenori first ventured into horror with The Horror Mansion (Sangekikan). 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 (Sangekikan). Other manga titles include Mayoko-chan, TVO and Dictionary of Darkness (Ankoku Jiten). Ochazukenori will be in Sydney to give a talk on November 5 and a horror manga masterclass on November 6.
ABOUT NORIAKI SUZUKI (CURATOR)
Noriaki Suzuki is a curator at the Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subcultures in Tokyo, where his day job involves putting together exhibitions like this one on a regular basis.
ABOUT YOSHIHIRO YONEZAWA MEMORIAL LIBRARY OF MANGA AND SUBCULTURES
The late Yoshihiro Yonezawa (1953-2006) was a highly influential figure in Japan’s manga world. In addition to his work as a manga critic, he is also known for his role in co-founding Comiket, a market for underground and self-published manga that started in 1975 and continues to this day. When Yonezawa passed away, his personal collection of manga was donated to Meiji University. It is now housed in the Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Library of Manga and Subcultures which, along with the Meiji University Modern Manga Library, is one of Meiji University’s expanding portfolio of manga libraries.
Interviews for RETRO HORROR available with the following persons:
- RETRO HORROR curator, Noriaki Suzuki (Oct 16 – 19 in person; otherwise via email)
- Horror manga artist Ochazukenori (Nov 5 – Nov 8 in person)
(Note: English translation/interpreting required so advance notice is appreciated.)
Interviews related to the broader HORROR MANGA JAPAN program are available with the following persons:
- Images on this webpage can be used for editorial purposes.
- For high-resolution images and different dimensions, please contact us.
*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 (via lifts), Central Park
Chippendale NSW 2008
Exhibition entry is free.