Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture

In an exhibition curated by Takashi Murakami, he addresses the shift in Japanese culture and the movement of otaku. The exhibition looks at the cultural effects of the Little Boy atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. The idea of the exhibiton focused around the idea of the superflat, which “presented a visual logic for popular Japanese arts based on their “flat,” cartoon-like style and fascination with supernatural realms”. The exhibition however goes beyond the cartoonish aspects of Japanese culture to the darker threads that have presented themselves post war. After the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, there was not only fallout from the effects of radiation, but the censorship of the event made it a topic that was not addressed. It wasn’t until later that the children of the atomic bomb survivors began to ask questions, that the issues surrounding the bomb began to be addressed by cartoons. Additionally movies such as Godzilla also addressed the bomb, but did so in a way that did not directly reference the event. JS_7558_square.jpg

The changes in the culture of Japan were extremely evident after the bomb fell on Hiroshima. The way that Japanese people addressed the issues after the fallout is very different from other countries. Because while there are memorials and quiet places of contemplation, the art and everyday culture was radically changed to reflect the superflat anime otaku culture.


Here is a link to the NPR coverage of the show.

Here is an New York Magazine article about the show.




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