Tuesday, 29 April 2014


Fans of Japanese pop culture, especially anime and manga, can now be found all over the world, and the Caribbean region is no exception.

In Jamaica, the Japanese genres have a strong following, especially among young people, so a coming exhibition on the island is expected to draw big crowds.

The poster for the exhibition at the
National Gallery of Jamaica
Starting May 11, the National Gallery of Jamaica will present “JAPAN: Kingdom of Characters”, which showcases anime and manga characters that have been popular in the Asian country.

Under the theme Characters and the Japanese, the exhibition asks various questions, such as: What exactly are "characters"? Why do characters appear and become popular? What kind of social reality do they reflect? according to a statement from the Gallery.

“The purpose of the exhibition is to introduce the world of characters in a broader sense and examine their impact on Japanese society. Highlights include life-sized models of some of Japan's most popular characters and a replica Hello Kitty room,” the Gallery added.

Charles Campbell, chief curator, told SWAN that the institution was "very excited" to host the art show because of the "huge interest" in Jamaica.

"It's a very big scene here," he said. "And we're also hopeful that it will attract new audiences to the Gallery." 

The exhibition is organized by the Embassy of Japan in association with the National Gallery and the Japan Foundation. It commemorates the 50th anniversary of Japan-Jamaica diplomatic relations and is also part of the National Gallery’s 40th- anniversary activities.

Established in 1974, the Gallery is the oldest and largest public art museum in the Anglophone Caribbean. It has a comprehensive collection of early, modern and contemporary art from Jamaica along with smaller Caribbean and international collections. A major selection of the artworks is on permanent view.

The “Japan” show forms part of the Gallery’s active exhibition programme, which includes retrospectives of work by major Jamaican artists, thematic exhibitions, guest-curated shows, touring events that originate outside of the island, and the premier national exhibition, the National Biennial.

Yasuo Takase, Ambassador of Japan to Jamaica, will launch “Kingdom of Characters”, which runs until June 14, 2014.