Manga Exhibition, British Museum: Interview with the curator UEA’s Nicole Rousmaniere (2019)


I was asked to curate this exhibition
because of the success of a manga that we worked on with Hoshino Yukinobu
called Professor Munakata’s British Museum Adventure in 2011 and because I did a small exhibition at the front of the museum called ‘Manga Now: Three
Generations’ which drew a hundred thousand people this showed the British
Museum I think that there was a great interest in manga and this exhibition is
a result of that. For the last few years I’ve been
seconded to the British Museum and I am the Research Director now at the Sainsbury Institute. My heart is in Norwich, but my body is in London – but I often go up to Norwich and what we’re working on is delivering an
MA that will be online very soon in Japanese cultures. We certainly want
manga to be an integral part of that – I will do my best! I was teaching from 1996 for three years at the School of World Art Studies on Japanese Art History and we were very lucky to have a significant donation from Sir Robert and
Lady Sainsbury of their Mowgli painting to create the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures. I was the founding director of that and it was a real privilege to be able to work with UEA, to work with
the Sainsbury’s and to work with the local community to create a Japanese
Research Institute that’s unique. I believe in the world certainly there’s
nothing like it in Japan and it’s well positioned within the university but
also an independent institute that can help support the University in many
different departments, many different schools, and support students bringing
academics from Japan into the University and bringing Japan to Norwich, but also
bringing Norwich to Japan. People should come because this is the largest exhibition of manga of its kind outside of Japan. I don’t believe this type of exhibition will happen again. The exhibition includes original drawings
for the first time leaving Japan, for a large part, but also, not only that, it has a 17 metre theater curtain that will never be shown again and it
has a lot of historical material digital content that you will not see elsewhere.
But most importantly, this exhibition pulls it all together into a coherent
context and through this you will become fluent in manga but you’ll also
understand manga’s importance and hopefully be inspired to do further
looking into manga, even further research into manga and find your own manga.

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