WAVE: Currents in Japanese Graphic Arts

Partner Programme

16 — 24 Sept 2023

Graphic Design & Visual Communications, Art / Collectibles

Japan House London

101-111 Kensington High Street


W8 5SA


Explore the vibrant diversity of Japanese graphic arts in this bold exhibition at Japan House London which bridges the worlds of fine art, commercial illustration and counterculture.

The work of a selection of 60 Japanese artists is presented, with late 20th-century innovators Tanaami Keiichi and Yumura Teruhiko featured alongside a number of emerging artists being exhibited for the first time in the UK. Graphic arts featured in the exhibition include elements of pop art, surrealism and illustration, as well as the concept of heta-uma, which translates as ‘bad, but good’, and refers to apparently unskilled art which reveals greater merit upon close inspection. Emerging in the underground manga magazine GARO in the 1970s, heta-uma challenges our perspective of what is ‘ugly’ or ‘beautiful’ and our definitions of art itself. Variety and anarchy are ever-present in WAVE, with Jenny kaori’s bold, punky depictions of girlhood juxtaposed against Yukishita Mayu’s brooding photorealist portraits and husband and wife team tupera tupera’s delightful children’s book illustration. Inspired by an annual exhibition in Tokyo of the same name, and curated by artists Hiro Sugiyama and Takahashi Kintarō, WAVE: Currents in Japanese Graphic Arts presents a rare opportunity to experience the diversity of Japanese illustration and graphic arts in one place outside Japan.