The exhibit 'Cool Japan' takes you on a whirlwind tour of the global fascination for Japanese visual culture. With unique historical pieces, the MAS shows how Japanese icons such as Hello Kitty, Zelda and Sailor Moon are all part of a long tradition and how both new and old Japanese art continues to inspire the world.

Zelda, Sailor Moon and Hello Kitty: all world famous icons from Japanese visual culture you may already know. But did you know that contemporary Japanese visual culture also has a rich history? For instance, the style of contemporary Japanese cartoonists or 'mangaka' is heavily influenced by Japan's historical print art and techniques pioneered by old masters. Through unique historical works from its own collection and loans, the MAS presents this long tradition from which contemporary Japanese pop culture has grown out.

In 'Cool Japan', you can also admire ancient and contemporary Japanese art, discover how fashion designers were inspired by Japan, and get to know the colourful 'Kawaii' (cute fashion from Tokyo), or admire the handsome tattoos of the old warriors. However, you can do more than merely look. You can also get hands-on at the exhibition by delving into activities such as having a chat with robot Pepper or getting lost in manga strips for hours in our library.

Practical information

Cool Japan

18/10/2019 - 10/08/2020

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Cool Japan is an exhibition of the National Museum of World Cultures (Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen) in the Netherlands.





Uki-Uki (2012)

Hiroyuki Matsuura, Acrylic and gold foil on canvas, 390 x 130 cm 
Banner image courtesy of Tokyo Gallery + BTAP