Museum Volkenkunde

Steenstraat 1, Leiden, The Netherlands



museum volkenkunde

14 April-17 September - COOL JAPAN – Worldwide Fascination in Focus

Pokémon, Hello Kitty, robots and samurai – all international icons of Japanese visual culture. Japan is known for its ancient traditions, and yet it is also hip and happening, with occasional extravagant visual excesses. A major exhibition entitled COOL JAPAN: Worldwide Fascination in Focus opens at Museum Volkenkunde on 14 April. It will highlight the popularity of contemporary Japan, and place it in a historical context.


Historical and contemporary

From the instantly recognisable Japanese horror to ‘cute fashion’ from the streets of Tokyo, COOL JAPAN brings it all together. With top historical items from its world-famous Japanese collection, Museum Volkenkunde will show that today’s icons are part of a long tradition. The exhibition will feature both contemporary art and work by Katsushika Hokusai, known as the ‘Rembrandt of Japan’. The most eye-catching exhibit will be the four-metre tall painting Uki-Uki by Matsuura Hiroyuki, featuring old and new elements (a traditional kimono and manga), in a perfect illustration of the exhibition’s core message.

Fans of Japanese popular culture will be delighted by the original drawings and designs for classic manga, anime and games such as Death Note, Princess Mononoke and Final Fantasy. Clips from influential feature animations will be screened.


For fans and newcomers

There will be lots to see and lots to do. Visitors can game to their heart’s content on classic arcade machines and the latest game computers. Comic book fanatics will be able to choose from thousands of mangas. A whole range of activities and events are also planned on the theme of Japanese culture. COOL JAPAN is a spectacular and exquisitely designed exhibition for both fans and newcomers, young and old.


COOL JAPAN is sponsored by the Blockbusterfonds, the BankGiroLoterij, and  the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund.


Picture: Kurebayashi, 2016, Kjeld Duits