A list of all artists featured in the exhibition WAVE: Currents in Japanese Graphic Arts.


AC-bu was formed by Tama Art University graduates Toru Adachi (b. 1976), Shunsuke Itakura (b. 1976), and early member Makoto Ando. The team brings their high-energy, abbreviated pop style to illustration, animation and fine art. In 2014, they presented their high-speed picture show, Anzen unten no shiori (Safe Driving Guide), at Ars Electronica Animation Festival.


Suzy Amakane

Suzy Amakane (b. 1956) attended Tama Art University and works in both fine and commercial arts, blending his loves of manga and pop art into a playful and colourful style that has appeared in magazines and on television and album covers, as well as in many exhibitions.

View The Walrus from the Bookshelf by Suzy Amakane

Aminaka Izuru

Aminaka Izuru (b. 1968) is an independent illustrator based in Tokyo and Oita prefecture. She designs book covers for numerous publishers as well as corporate advertisements and posters. She is also a part-time lecturer at Oita Prefectural College of Arts and Culture.  

View Cavalier by Aminaka Izuru

Arai Ryōji

Originally from Yamagata Prefecture in northern Japan, Arai Ryōji (b. 1956) is a Tokyo-based illustrator who has also worked in advertising and theatre set design. He has earned worldwide acclaim for his wide range of illustrated books— including small books for toddlers, picture books of nonsense, fairy tales and poetry—that feature his unique and playful style. In 2005, he was the first Japanese author to win the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for children’s literature for his “bold, mischievous style” and “musical” colour sense. In this dynamic painting, a mysterious white-clad figure stands on a small, colourful stage with wings spread for a grand performance.

View Snowy Theatre by Arai Ryōji

Asano Tadanobu

Actor, musician, and artist Asano Tadanobu (b. 1973) grew up in a creative family and began taking after-school art classes in kindergarten. As an artist, he enjoys capturing people engaged in various activities. He photographs himself working, sitting, and moving around, and then uses the images as the starting point for his paintings. In this group of twelve small acrylic works, the figures are set in flat, empty space, as in many Japanese paintings and prints. However, by emphasizing the figures’ shadows and the folds of their clothing, he creates form and motion within the space.

View Untitled by Asano Tadanobu


Tokyo-based artist Awai (b. 1981) grew up loving to draw and studied design at college. She still delights in the process of drawing, allowing herself to be led by her subconscious and emotions, so that her cartoon-style characters often express her own moods and feelings. While the images may reflect sadness or pain, Awai typically adds an element that offers comfort. In this work, she portrays the loneliness of a young girl with a few simple strokes and creates a setting that suggests destruction and loss. Beside the girl, however, a small rabbit provides companionship and solace.

View Flowers Bloom in Empty Places by Awai

Chikatsu Takeo

Chikatsu Takeo (b. 1963) worked for several design studios before becoming a freelance illustrator and designer in 1998. He is best known for his hyperreal acrylic paintings of familiar objects, such as bottles, food, flowers, and pencils, in which he explores time, surface, and what lies beneath. In 2006, he began his Shoes series: portraits of single shoes belonging to people in his life. Each work hints at the character of the wearer, such as ‘Father’s Geta Sandal’, ‘Tired President of Design Studio’, and ‘Chen’s Shoe’, a very shy and quiet Chinese foreign student who travelled to France to study with her adoring boyfriend.

View Chen’s Shoe by Chikatsu Takeo


oki-chu. (b. 1979) works in an art style known as automatism, in which the subconscious guides the artist’s creative process. He begins in pencil, letting himself draw lines without thinking, and then finds forms and motifs in the work that he brings out in pen. In college, he encountered French comics and the work of Dutch artist M. C. Escher, yet his primary influences are the manga, anime, and video games of his youth and the artists with whom he engages at mograg gallery, the Tokyo art space that he runs with his wife, Motoko Ohta.

View Space Dog by oki-chu.

Enomoto Mariko

Tokyo-based artist Enomoto Mariko (b. 1982) studied fashion and, today, designs magazine and record covers and other commercial products. As a painter, she is self-taught, influenced by her great-grandfather, who was a Nihonga (‘Japanese-style picture’) artist. Growing up surrounded by art and nature has informed her own painting style, and many of her figures interweave human and natural elements, such as animals and plants. Here, blue orchids grow over the eyes of a young woman, while a bee emerges from her mouth, an image that is at once elegant and surreal.

View Blue by Enomoto Mariko

Hanai Yusuke

The work of Hanai Yusuke (b. 1978) ranges from website design to collaborations with clothing brands like Beams and Vans to illustrations for surfing magazines. Considered a counterculture artist, Hanai has long been attracted to the beatnik and hippie culture of San Francisco, where he lived and studied art for several years. His drawings typically depict ordinary, often slightly alienated people doing their best to cope, encouraging each other, and finding their way. The figure in Down But Not Out, which has been reproduced as a painting, print, and limited-edition figurine, embodies the spirit of resilience visible in much of Hanai’s work.

View Down But Not Out by Hanai Yusuke

Hayakawa Motohiro

Born in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Hayakawa Motohiro (b. 1974) studied at Yamaguchi College of Arts and went on to work in illustration and comics. His illustrations are heavily influenced by the science-fiction adventures and cartoons of his childhood in the early 1980s as well as by American comic books and punk rock. In his highly imaginative paintings, Hayakawa employs a mixture of different textures, media, and techniques to create a world inhabited by giant plants with eyes, ancient warriors, vintage sci-fi heroes, aliens, robots, and bizarre monsters. In many of his works, these characters engage in comic-style battle scenes set in psychedelic, dreamlike landscapes.

View X Planet Battles by Hayakawa Motohiro

Hirai Yutaka

Based in Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture, Hirai Yutaka (b. 1976) is a self-taught artist who works largely in acrylic. Much of his art is figurative and at times verges on the surreal, with curious juxtapositions of motifs and settings in a rich colour palette. Through his paintings, he often aims to convey personal struggles and emotional challenges. In this work, however, he has forgone colour and figures for a monotone abstraction that is more expressive than representational, marbling together the opposing tones so that they harmonize in a vibrant, almost musical composition.

View Black & White by Hirai Yutaka

Ichijō Hikaru

Ichijō Hikaru (b. 1989) received her master’s degree in visual communication from Tokyo University of the Arts. In 2018, she began working as an illustrator. Her illustrations are featured in books, advertisements, and package design. Using techniques rooted in print technology—typically Ben-Day dots—to explore colour expression, she builds bold images of female figures with a fresh, contemporary pop aesthetic. She chooses not to draw their faces, freeing the characters from judgement based on shifting beauty standards. Instead, her women are strong and athletic and are often depicted from below, so they appear to tower over the viewer.

View Twins by Ichijō Hikaru

Ishiguro Ayako

Ishiguro Ayako (b. 1973) is a self-taught artist and illustrator from Chiba Prefecture. Her paintings and book illustrations typically feature monsters,
shape-shifting animals, and other yōkai— ‘mysterious apparitions’—from Japanese folklore and her own imagination. She is particularly well known for her illustrations of bakeneko, or ‘monster cats’. In 2016, she published a book of her yōkai images, which are at once fearsome, cute, and comical. In this work, entitled Chikara-mochi (Powerful), a stern-faced octopus mimics a mighty warrior, wearing a hachimaki around his head, a loincloth around his waist and holding a large wooden mallet (ōtsuchi).

View Powerful by Ishiguro Ayako

Itō Keiji

Itō Keiji (b. 1958) is a Tokyo-based illustrator, graphic designer, and director of Unidentified Flying Graphics (UFG). Much of his work investigates the idea that things that seem ordinary at first glance may often conceal madness and psychedelia—such as the jelly mountain in this surreal landscape, which, along with the title Five Tones, is a nod to Steven Spielberg’s 1977 science-fiction film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. To Itō, portals to other worlds lie hidden in our everyday spaces, and they can open suddenly and create a sense of incongruity; he tries to capture these moments for eternity in his paintings. Itō has had numerous solo exhibitions, taken part in domestic and international shows, and produced several publications, including his latest work FUTURE DAYS.

View Five Tones by Itō Keiji

Kageyama Tōru

Kageyama Tōru (b. 1958) is an artist and illustrator originally from Aomori Prefecture and is best known for his numerous book cover designs. His works show a variety of influences, including realism, manga and anime, and European and Chinese landscapes. In this painting, named after the mysterious artist Sharaku, who designed a series of kabuki actor prints in the late 18th century, the influence of Japan’s ukiyo-e woodblock print tradition is apparent. The central image is the interior of a kabuki theatre, with the actors on stage in the distance and a large character from one of Sharaku’s prints on the left.

View Sharaku by Kageyama Tōru

Jenny kaori

Using vivid colour, and a predominantly pink colour palette, kaori creates strong, mischievous female figures who transcend gender boundaries and challenge stereotypes of femininity and girlishness. Here, and with reference to the title in Chinese characters meaning ‘an accidental fall’, a girl appears to have fallen out of a car and is surrounded by the contents of several boxes that have spilled out all over the ground. In one hand, she holds a sceptre with a heart finial; in the other, she clutches cash. The image suggests a young person overwhelmed by consumerism.

View Life is Good by Jenny kaori

Kawamoto Yōko

From Ōita Prefecture, Kawamoto Yōko (b. 1967) is a self-taught artist working primarily in oil on canvas in a photorealistic style. She focuses on ordinary daily scenes and underrepresented vistas that are not typically noticed or painted: museums, junkyards, sunlit suburban streets, and urban traffic. By portraying these mundane scenes with careful attention to detail, form, and lighting, she elevates each into something fascinating and important. Here, a view of a mountain of sand (mined from the sea), with cloth and tyres strewn around the foreground, becomes a mysterious and intriguing landscape worthy of our attention.

View Untitled by Kawamoto Yōko

Kakuda Mayu

Kakuda graduated from the Department of Information Design at Kyoto University of Art and Design and is currently working as a designer and illustrator, within the Enlightenment collective. She is also active privately as a painter. She is fascinated by kitsch toys and works of art from the 1980s and uses them as themes in her paintings. When she was younger, she would admire and desire the objects in her grandfather's display cabinet. With her paintings, she recreates her grandfather’s room and is transported back to how she felt during her childhood.

View Horserace on the Shelf by Kakuda Mayu

Katō Takaaki

Katō was born in Tokyo in 1985, spent his childhood in Düsseldorf and graduated from the Department of Design in Tama Art University’s Faculty of Art and Communication. He joined Enlightenment in 2012 and Chikabi in 2020, before becoming independent. He produces works on the themes of time, projection and memory, aiming to create ‘movie-like’ paintings. “I find subjects in old postcards, draw them separately as if dividing up the plane of the picture, and shift them slightly to create an effect like colour plate misregistration. What I’m trying to do is create pictures like movies, where those flat prints from the past are split up, blurred, then given a sense of time as if they were moving, so as to link up with each observer’s own hazy memories.”

View postcard montage by Katō Takaaki

Kawamura Kōsuke

Kawamura Kōsuke (b. 1979) is originally from Hiroshima Prefecture. After graduating from high school, he moved to Tokyo and trained himself to be a graphic designer. He now works as a designer, art director, and collage artist, influenced in part by American artist Winston Smith. He began using a paper shredder in his work, and it soon became an important element of his collaging, allowing him to create fine patterns and designs (some of which he has used in collaborations with fashion designers). He works in both analogue and digital realms for his collage designs, often bringing together live paintings and digital imagery to create pop and avant-garde art.

View Untitled by Kawamura Kōsuke

Nakajima Yūta

Nakajima was born in Osaka in 1993 and presently lives and works in Tokyo. He is an artist and art director and a member of the Enlightenment collective, having studied under Hiro Sugiyama. He digitally processes a range of subjects sampled from old films, second-hand books, and images generated online or via AI, then paints them onto canvas. Solo exhibitions held so far in 2023 include CERTIFIER (X8 Gallery, Tokyo) and TRANSFER (YUGEN Gallery, Tokyo).
“There are many scenes that everyone has seen before, whether in an old black and white film or online, which evoke a sense of nostalgia. Yet these scenes tend to get skipped over in today’s ‘fast’ world. In this series, I gather up these scenes, swap out their medium for a more primitive one of oil-on-canvas, transferring the data to another place and creating some friction. That results in a new mental landscape, a distortion of the time-space continuum.”

View Consult by Nakajima Yūta

Shiriagari Kotobuki

Shiriagari Kotobuki (b. 1958) is a manga artist from Shizuoka. After graduating from Tama Art University in Tokyo, he began working in advertising, a career he continued until 1994. In 1985, he started creating manga, and ten years later, he launched a manga strip called Ereki na Haru (‘Electric Spring’). Since 1998, Kotobuki has contributed his darkly humorous serialized manga strips to popular magazines, including Beam and AX, and several newspapers. He aims to create work that is loose, maybe somewhat lacking, but is still appealing and often filled with humour. He teaches at Kobe Design University in the Department of Manga Media.

View A Short Break by Shiriagari Kotobuki

Kuruhara Kimi

Kuruhara Kimi (b. 1963) draws inspiration from sources as diverse as the natural world, medieval Christian art, and manga and anime from the 1960s and 1970s. Based in Nagano, where she also paints and crafts dolls, Kuruhara describes her work as having no specific direction. Rather, many of her images are born from ideas that pop into her head suddenly, like a story that she is sharing with a friend. Her rich imagination can be seen in this whimsical painting of a shinobi (another name for a ninja) swimming at night in a castle moat with a knife in their mouth. They move so stealthily that they do not wake the sleeping ducks or cause a single ripple on the surface of the water.

View Shinobi by Kuruhara Kimi

Kusuriyubi Sasaku

Kusuriyubi Sasaku is a painter based in Wakayama Prefecture. The inspiration for her curious characters comes from her childhood in the countryside, where she observed that the insects, fish, and animals around her seemed to inhabit a world of life and death with no awareness of each other as individuals. Their unconscious activities became a symbol of freedom and equality for her and affirmed her own unique existence. In her art, she expresses this freedom through characterization, creating figures reminiscent of yōkai, the mysterious apparitions and monsters of Japanese folklore. Here, a girl with magical, prehensile hair enjoys lunch in the company of her comical pets.

View Lunch by Kusuriyubi Sasaku

Maki Kahori

Maki Kahori (b. 1969) is a Japanese-born, internationally educated artist and illustrator who works in various media, including drawing, painting, video, and installation, and regularly exhibits in galleries. Using flowers or plants as motifs, Maki starts from a single drawing that she expands into more complex creations like this work, which is typical of her lavishly detailed and richly textured imagery. Her commercial work has included designs for magazines such as Vogue Nippon, for album covers, and fashion brands such as Comme des Garçons. She regularly switches between analogue and digital methods and has been working in collaboration with Apple and Adobe Systems.

View Meditative Flower by Maki Kahori

Mizuno Kenichirō

During his childhood, Mizuno Kenichirō (b. 1967) was strongly influenced by the Japanese anime he watched on television. Later, during his student years at Tottori University and Setsu Mode Seminar in Tokyo, his visual interests shifted to cult movies and contemporary art. Mizuno evolved a personal style as an artist, absorbing inspiration from magazines and art gallery visits. Consequently, his works pull from multiple sources, and he uses a range of media—drawing, painting, graphics, and animation—to capture his unique, quirky vision.

View Casual Existence by Mizuno Kenichirō

Moriguchi Yūji

In the elaborately detailed paintings of Moriguchi Yūji (b. 1971), mysterious and captivating young women hold centre stage. Greatly influenced by the ukiyo-e prints of the Edo period (1603–1868), Shōwa era (1926–1989) imagery, and fantasy, horror, and eroticism, his works evoke a sense of nostalgia. In this pair of paintings, two schoolgirls sit astride komainu statues, the lion-dog figures who guard Buddhist temples in Japan. The titleA-Un is the Japanese transliteration of the original Sanskrit sacred sound representing the beginning and end of everything, and often equated with the syllable Om (or Aum). One lion’s mouth opens, saying “A” (representing the beginning of all things), while the other’s mouth is closed, saying “Un” (for the end).

View A-Un by Moriguchi Yūji

View A-Un by Moriguchi Yūji

View ~Denouement~ by Moriguchi Yūji

Moto Hideyasu

Moto Hideyasu (b. 1969) is a self-taught artist who straddles the worlds of manga and painting. He became an illustrator in 1990 and five years later debuted as a manga artist in the magazine Garo, launching a style that he deliberately tried to make unfashionable. Moto’s love of music records inspired him to create Recosuke-kun, a manga featuring the character Recosuke (meaning ‘Record-lover’). In this scene, we see Recosuke standing by a pool holding the album A Long Vacation by Japanese musician Ōtaki Eiichi, which was released in 1981. The album cover was designed by the artist Nagai Hiroshi (whose work is also in this exhibition). In this painting, Moto plays with the image on the cover to create a trompe l’œil optical effect with the line of the swimming pool.

View Recosuke's Long Vacation by Moto Hideyasu

Nagaba Yū

Nagaba Yū (b. 1976) is a Tokyo-based illustrator who attended Tokyo Zokei University but learned art “everywhere.” In his art, he favours simple line drawings over colour and detail, opting for quality over quantity. He creates work for advertising and books, collaborates with fashion brands, and has shown in solo exhibitions in Japan and abroad. In 2014, he developed his current artistic style of line drawings with black ink on white. He has made a series of drawings on a memo pad from the Ace Hotel in New York, where he stayed in 2013, and has created similar works on canvas, greatly enlarging the original memo pad.

View Mona Lisa by Nagaba Yū

Nagai Hiroshi

Nagai Hiroshi (b. 1947) is a self-taught artist from Tokushima Prefecture. As a child, he discovered painting through his father, who was an oil painter, and went on to work as a set decorator, while also developing his skills as an artist. Highly influenced by American pop art as well as the surrealist works of Salvador Dalí and René Magritte, Nagai designed album covers for many Japanese recording artists (including a cover referenced in the work by Moto Hideyasu in this exhibition).
Nagai is best known for his scenes of beaches, swimming pools, and coastal roads, rendered in vivid tones and often empty of people.

View Untitled by Nagai Hiroshi

Face Oka

Born to a Taiwanese father and Japanese mother, Face Oka (b. 1985) is a largely self-taught artist/illustrator, who has learned from other artists. Creating primarily by hand, he works in the realms of advertising, magazines and the fashion industry, collaborating with brands such as Better, Human Made, Beams, Uniqlo and Adidas. In much of his art, he satirizes a Japanese sense of conformity and tendency to avoid confrontation at any price. Here, a giant woman (with the skewed facial features of many of his characters) appears to embrace a bridge that runs through a forest, suggesting the human disconnect with nature.

View Money than Green Grass by Face Oka

Jun Oson

The work of Jun Oson (b. 1979) spans many fields, including book cover design and illustration, animation, product and clothing design, and print and web-based media. Based in Kamakura, Oson uses a playful pop-art style to explore motifs and themes that are universal and transcend time. Here, we see three out of four of his Forever Friends characters—Red Dog, Skully and the green-faced Belo Belo—intertwined in a convivial wrestling match. These characters appear in paintings like this one, which are exhibited at contemporary art galleries in Tokyo, as well as on merchandise such as T-shirts and action figures.

View Good Friends by Jun Oson

Saitō Yūsuke

Saitō Yūsuke (b. 1978) is an illustrator from Kanagawa. Having trained at the Vantan Design Institute in Tokyo, he produces realistic digital paintings and animations, many of which have been featured in the music, film, fashion, advertising and publishing industries, both internationally and in Japan. In addition to drawing characters for these creative fields, he also makes work that expresses the struggles that he has faced personally as an artist. His process allows him to explore the various possibilities of art and discover his own potential.

View Chack and the Girl by Saitō Yūsuke

Sasabe Norishige

Sasabe Norishige (b. 1973) is best known for his nostalgic images of Japan’s past. In 2020, however, he began creating imagery that addresses the present and near future including issues such as climate change, artificial intelligence, cloning, biotechnology and virtual reality. His new works, which feature colour gradations (made with pastels) and rubbed-out areas, are darker in palette and deeper in tone, illustrating contemporary scenes and events through his own personal filter. Here, a silhouetted figure stands in a majestic natural landscape but is instead consumed by what he sees in his VR goggles.

View Unknown Goggles by Sasabe Norishige

Shichinohe Masaru

Shichinohe Masaru (b. 1959) studied architecture at Musashino Art University in Tokyo, but soon after graduating, began a career as a professional painter. Largely self-taught as an artist, he has dedicated himself to capturing a nostalgia for the ephemeral joys of childhood, portraying young boys and girls in dark, often surreal settings. His works are laden with symbolism and silence and provoke many questions. Here, the image appears to be of a young girl sitting with a doll on her lap.
On closer inspection, however, the scene unravels into something more dreamlike and mysterious.

View Doll Play by Shichinohe Masaru

Sorayama Hajime

Sorayama Hajime (b. 1947) graduated from Central Art School in Tokyo and worked in advertising before becoming a freelance illustrator in 1971. In 1978, Sorayama drew his first robot, and in the 1980s he gained much attention for his series of Sexy Robots, which he modelled after pin-up art. His precise, highly detailed, superreal images explore ideas of closeness and embody the human impulse to pursue beauty. At the same time, his robots confront various important themes in contemporary society, such as race, eternal life and the fusion of technology and beauty. His images of robot dinosaurs similarly play with concepts of technology and chronology, history and science fiction.

View TREX (A) by Sorayama Hajime

View TREX (B) by Sorayama Hajime

Suga Mica

Originally from Ōita Prefecture, Suga Mica trained in fashion illustration and copperplate etching at a woodblock printing studio. As an illustrator, she creates paintings and paper prints, occasionally combining the techniques in collages made with scraps of fine paper that she collects and reuses. Many of her works feature unsmiling women who appear uneasy, as if viewing the world with distrust or emotional detachment. Her characters and scenes are typically quirky or absurd, as in this image of characters pretending to be foxes while embracing real foxes. Suga has shown in several group and solo exhibitions in Japan.

View Pretend Play by Suga Mica

Sugawa Makiko

Originally from Wakayama Prefecture, Sugawa Makiko (b. 1974) graduated from Kyoto College of Art and went on to work as a designer. She developed a refined style of drawing with slender, delicate lines and meticulous detailing. She specializes in female figures and dolls with limbs that appear to be attached with decorative joints and hinges. The women are strong and sensual, wearing lace and lingerie and exuding confidence and independence. Sugawa lost her leg to cancer and champions amputees in her work, sending a message that there is beauty and strength in physical diversity.

View Lace-up Dress by Sugawa Makiko

Hiro Sugiyama

One of the organizers and curators of the Tokyo WAVE exhibition and this Japan House touring exhibition, Hiro Sugiyama (b. 1962) is a
Tokyo-based artist whose prolific output has included figurative and abstract painting, superreal portraiture, prints, photography and collage. In much of his work, he explores points of intersection between dualities—life and death, reality and unreality, abstract and concrete, digital and analogue—expressing the narrow space where opposites meet. In this work, Diana, the goddess of hunting from European Classical mythology, is set against a boldly painted abstract background.
The white string that zigzags over the canvas seems to further bind together these otherwise distant forms of artistic expression.

View Diana by Hiro Sugiyama

Takagi Makito

Takagi Makito (b. 1986) is a pop-art illustrator who designs quirky creatures seemingly constructed from random objects, or human and animal parts. Many of his monster-like cartoon characters pose like superheroes in front of photorealistic buildings, walls, verandas and other settings, resulting in ambiguous images that straddle the line between reality and the virtual realm. Through his skillful use of light and shading, Takagi creates works that appear like snapshots of these imagined creatures in the real world, evoking vintage photographs of the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot. In this painting, he portrays a curious character as if captured in the flash of a night-time photograph.

View Snap-49 by Takagi Makito

Takahashi Kintarō

Takahashi Kintarō (b. 1955) is from Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture. While studying graphic design at Tama Art University in Tokyo, he became interested in illustration and now specializes in illustrative work with a delicate touch. In this painting, he portrays the face of a girl in April, using minimal brushstrokes and pigments—simply adding a deep red to emphasize and energize her lips, perhaps to suggest young love. Takahashi prefers to draw from his memory of his subjects, rather than directly from reality. He is an organizer of the WAVE exhibition in Tokyo and a curator of this Japan House touring exhibition.

View April Girl by Takahashi Kintarō

Takei Chika

Originally from Utsunomiya in Tochigi Prefecture, Takei Chika (b. 1982) began her career in illustration shortly after graduating from Illustration Aoyama Juku. Her highly stylized images of mostly female characters are colourful and moody, and over the years, they have been inspired by a variety of pop stars including Britney Spears.Precisely detailed with extremely fine-point brushes, her figures are often playful and emotionally expressive. Her work has appeared in books, magazines, posters, online advertisements, official celebrity merchandise and studio design for the Japanese television network TBS. It has also been shown widely in art galleries.

View On and Off by Takei Chika

Tanaami Keiichi

Tanaami Keiichi (b. 1936) is one of Japan’s leading pop artists. Since the 1960s, he has worked as a graphic designer, illustrator and video artist, showing his artwork in numerous exhibitions in Japan and abroad.

He is best known for densely packed and colourful images containing scenes from his childhood during World War II, details from his dreams, and comical motifs from pop culture. While in New York in the late 1960s, the work of Andy Warhol inspired Tanaami to challenge the role of the artist and art itself. A talented draughtsman from the outset, he designed album covers for groups such as Jefferson Airplane and The Monkees and has trained many young artists at Kyoto University of Art and Design. His work often juxtaposes war imagery with references to American and Japanese pop culture. These three prints were developed using original post-war picture book illustrations from Yamakawa Sōji (1908–1992), author of the Shōnen Tiger and Shōnen Ōja series. The posthumous collaboration between Yamakawa and Tanaami was part of a retrospective of Yamakawa’s work held in 2008, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth.

View Shōnen Tiger 01 by Tanaami Keiichi

View Shōnen Ōja by Tanaami Keiichi

View Shōnen Tiger 02 by Tanaami Keiichi

Taniguchi Hiroki

From Kawasaki in Kanagawa Prefecture, Taniguchi Hiroki (1957‒2021) studied at Tokyo University of the Arts. He worked as an illustrator creating simple, charming, and often whimsical images that have graced numerous book covers, posters and stationery items, and his work has been featured in many solo and group exhibitions. Taniguchi considered Japan and his own ‘Japanese-ness’ fundamental to his artistic expression, and motifs from Japanese daily life, such as rice bowls and chopsticks, vegetables, flowers, and folk gods, abound in his work.

View The Here, There, and Everywhere Flower by Taniguchi Hiroki

Terada Katsuya

Terada Katsuya (b. 1963) is an illustrator and manga artist from Okayama. He calls himself a rakugaki artist (meaning a scribbler, or doodler), as he likes to draw a little everywhere and all the time. As a manga and anime artist, he has designed characters for Japanese animated films and series, created artwork for several video games, and worked on American comics such as Iron Man and Hellboy. As an illustrator and artist, he pushes— with handheld pens and digital tools alike—the boundaries of manga and art, building elaborate clusters of line-drawn motifs from dreams, fantasies, and the natural realm.

View Untitled by Terada Katsuya

View Untitled by Terada Katsuya

Tomozawa Kotao

Tomozawa Kotao (b. 1999) was born in Bordeaux in France. She left Paris in 2004 and is currently at Tokyo University of the Arts, studying oil painting, while also exhibiting her work in galleries. Her portraits typically feature faces covered with slime-like substances. The texture, translucency and softness of the materials are meticulously depicted, leaving the viewer to question the reality of what they are looking at.

View slimeLXXV by Tomozawa Kotao

Tsuzuki Mayumi

In this print, Tsuzuki Mayumi (b. 1966) portrays a Japanese family posing for a standard portrait, with the wife in a floral kimono and the husband and children plainly dressed otherwise. Although the family is depicted with vivid colours, the mood of the image is sombre given the subjects’ uneasy, distant facial expressions and the heavy shadow that surrounds them. Tsuzuki, who studied art at Musashino Art University in Tokyo, often addresses such ambiguity in her work. Typically, her pointillist-inspired images of daily life are at once bright and colourful, and dark and unsettling, reflecting the complexity of our emotional lives.
(Note: Risograph is a Japanese brand of digital duplicators that are designed mainly for high-volume photocopying and printing.)

View Family Portrait by Tsuzuki Mayumi

tupera tupera

The artistic duo tupera tupera have created some of Japan’s most popular children’s books, including Shirokuma no pantsu (Polar Bear’s Underpants), which won the 2014 Prix du Livre Jeunesse Marseille. The Tokyo-based husband-and-wife design team, Kameyama Tatsuya (b. 1976) and Nakagawa Atsuko (b. 1978), trained in oil painting at Musashino Art University and textile dyeing at Tama Art University, respectively. Their colourful, whimsical illustrations are born out of the playful approach to their work. The painting here is the cover image for the children’s book Panda Sentō (Panda Bathhouse), which follows a panda family as they visit a Japanese public bathhouse.

View Panda Bathhouse by tupera tupera

Uno Akira

Uno Akira (a.k.a. Aquirax Uno, b. 1934) is one of Japan’s leading artists and illustrators with a career spanning six decades. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was involved in the Japanese underground art movement, and collaborated in experimental theatre productions. Now, he is best known for his fantastical portraiture, often of timeless characters, finely rendered in pen and ink, though he also frequently uses collage and bright colours. Many of his illustrations feature a mysterious female figure with eyes heavy with ennui. In this image, inspired by a haiku poem by Takahashi Mutsuo, a skinny young man holds a thin crescent moon while a young woman stands next to him wearing a hawk’s head headdress.
*Translation: The thirteenth moon / (if it were) a Noh actor (who appears in the latter part of a play) / (it would be) the Noh mask of the ghost of a man exhausted through vindictiveness (or a skinny man)

View Nochi no tsuki nochi shite-naraba yase otoko* by Uno Akira

Uryu Tarō

Uryu Tarō (b. 1980) is a Tokyo-based illustrator who has created a highly recognizable style of graphic expression for department stores, clothing brands, book covers, and magazines. Uryu’s female figures are simple and often geometric in form, with long limbs, tiny round mouths, and wide blue eyes, which the artist explains represent the sea and sky. Many of his women wear clothing inspired by the shapes and colours of objects, birds, and animals, such as calico cats and red-crested cranes, as in this image. He eliminates the figures’ facial expressions, giving them the serenity and majesty of a Buddha image that transcends joy, sadness and other emotions.

View Crane Suit* by Uryu Tarō

Ushiki Masanori

Ushiki Masanori (b. 1981) has worked in a broad range of media, from stationery and web design to illustration for a variety of clients, including Beams, Nintendo, Converse, Red Bull, Le Monde and Park Hotel Tokyo. He is currently a freelance artist and illustrator best known for his colourful and often humorous, larger-than-life characters inspired by Japanese pop culture, anime, manga, and science fiction from the 1980s and 1990s. With his groups of fashion-conscious girls and comical aliens, Ushiki aspires to create bold, authentic characters that will give viewers hope for the future.

View New Young* by Ushiki Masanori

Utsunomiya Nao

Utsunomiya was born in Nagano in 1990 and currently lives in Tokyo. She graduated from Tokyo Zokei University in 2013, and later attended Palette Club School. Her work can be seen in her solo exhibitions and as the artwork for book covers and frontispieces.

“I draw monochrome pencil pictures, mainly of young girls, combining distorted sensations with a little tenderness, and making use of pencil shading to show interesting shapes, giving them a sense of mass, and conveying the warmth of emotions and interpersonal relationships as if in a story. The nostalgic way I express things comes from the manga and anime of my childhood. This image represents a dreamy girl living in her own world, like a hermit crab inside its shell. It also symbolizes how she’s a mysterious, elusive creature whose life is grounded in delusions, so that even if she encounters something unpleasant and gets hurt, she has a strange ability to regenerate.”

View In One’s Shell* by Utsunomiya Nao

Yamaguchi Harumi

Yamaguchi Harumi (b. 1941) is a leading name in Japanese advertising; she pioneered the flat airbrush aesthetic that became closely associated with commercial illustration. Born in Shimane Prefecture, she graduated in oil painting from Tokyo University of the Arts, and from the 1970s to the mid-1980s, she spearheaded advertising for the retail establishment PARCO. Her role with PARCO allowed her to portray an emerging cosmopolitan woman, freed from traditionally assigned feminine roles and empowered to define herself through consumerism. In her airbrushed designs, her women, popularly known as ‘Harumi Gals’, are often glamorous, strong and active, confidently returning the gaze of the viewer.

View Tropical Fish* by Yamaguchi Harumi

Yano Keiji

Yano is an illustrator born in Kōchi in 1988. He graduated from the Department of Sculpture at Tokyo University of the Arts, then completed a postgraduate course in artistic anatomy at the same institution.
Before devoting his time fully to illustration in 2017, he worked as a designer at Nintendo. He works mainly in advertising, but also illustrating books and magazines. Some of his major works include promotional materials for Shiseido, the jacket for a single by Kyoto musician Nakamura Kaho, and flyer visuals for theatre company LOLO. He is also a part-time lecturer at Yokohama University of Art and Design.

“I mainly draw people’s faces. Sometimes you might think back and wonder, ‘That person I met that day… what did they look like?’ yet only retrieve a hazy, subjective impression. We don’t truly know ourselves, let alone other people, and it’s that sense of personal uncertainty I’m aiming to convey in my paintings.”

View Face 38* by Yano Keiji

Yokoyama Yūichi

Originally from Miyazaki Prefecture, Yokoyama Yūichi (b. 1967) studied oil painting at Musashino Art University and after graduating, began to draw manga as his preferred mode of expression. In what he describes as “drawing time,” Yokoyama aims to create a sense of time and space using features unique to manga. Instead of dialogue, he uses onomatopoeic phrases such as “do do do do” and “wa-”. His characters move freely and seemingly with speed, within highly rhythmic and often geometric compositions. Yokoyama calls his style “neo-manga”—a new style of manga that can overcome the limits of two-dimensional media to depict time and space.

View The Room of the World Map* by Yokoyama Yūichi

Yoshioka Rina

Illustrator Yoshioka Rina (b. 1977) trained in art at Tokyo’s Tama Art University. She is inspired by the mood and aesthetic of Japan’s Shōwa era (1926–1989), especially hand-drawn posters and magazine and record covers. More than simply nostalgic for the Shōwa era or enamoured by its retro feel, she is energized by the blood, sweat and tears that went into creating art during this time. In this painting, an imitation of a commercial poster, she presents a Japanese woman dressed in kimono apparently swooning before a dish of “Ecstatic Butter Chicken.” Butter chicken curry was developed in the mid-20th century but only became popular in Japan in the 1990s. A fan of curry herself, Yoshioka has playfully imagined a Shōwa-era advertisement for this dish.

View Ecstatic Butter Chicken* by Yoshioka Rina

Yoshizane Megumi

Yoshizane Megumi (b. 1970) studied art at private school and university. In her oil paintings, she strives to capture the many moments that make up our world and our lives. Yoshizane paints scenes that fascinate her, such as this image of two visitors exploring the ruins of a castle. She ruminates on the scene while painting it in the hope that her work will represent the energy of the moment, whether warm and calm, or lonely and anxious, and continue to release it forever. Yoshizane’s goal is to express this energy honestly, emphasizing the balance between light and shadow.

View Bitchū Matsuyama Castle* by Yoshizane Megumi

Yukishita Mayu

Yukishita Mayu (b. 1995) studied graphic design at Tama Art University. She has been working as an illustrator for commercials, music and book cover design, and recently founded her own fashion brand, Esth. As an artist, she works in a photorealistic style, creating paintings in oil and acrylic, as well as digitally. In some of her works, she also incorporates elements of manga; in her portraits, for example, she enlarges the eyes slightly. The images, mostly of young women who stare boldly at the viewer, have a dark, moody quality to them, an emotional edge that elevates the work beyond realism.

View Untitled* by Yukishita Mayu

View Untitled* by Yukishita Mayu

Yumura Teruhiko

Tokyo-based artist Yumura Teruhiko (b. 1942) is an illustrator, designer, cartoonist and music critic, who graduated from Tama Art University’s Department of Graphic Design. He was one of the pioneers of the heta-uma aesthetic (meaning ‘bad but good’ or ‘poorly drawn but well-conceived’) of Japanese illustration, in which artists create imagery that intentionally looks unskilled. In the 1970s and 1980s, Yumura drew covers for the magazine Garo, which specialized in alternative and avant-garde manga. He was influenced by both Japanese and American comic books and has collaborated with numerous Japanese short comics and the American magazines Wet and Raw. He uses several pen names, including Terry Johnson, as in the works in this exhibition, and is often referred to as King Terry.

View Untitled (Mr. George)* by Yumura Teruhiko

View (Gonzo’s Underground Mix Vol.7)* by Yumura Teruhiko