CSU, Chico News

The Way of Asia: Tradition and Innovation in Japanese Pop Culture

Date: 10-14-2008

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Masami Toku
Art and Art History

The Way of Asia, an exhibition and series of events celebrating contemporary and traditional Asian art and culture, opens today with “Manga Power! The World Through a Child’s Eyes” in the Humanities Center Gallery, Trinity Hall, on the California State University, Chico campus. Manga Power! is an international art education exhibit featuring comic book art as a communicative tool for children to discuss issues facing our world. It runs through Nov. 20.

Masami Toku, Department of Art and Art History, recently returned from a five-month sabbatical in Japan. She is curating The Way of Asia and organizing events, including a tea ceremony, a kimono auction and a sushi demonstration. Her intent is to show a fusion of traditional and innovative Japanese art and culture. “In addition, there are points where there is also a fusion between Asian arts and United States culture,” said Toku, “and people will experience this when they participate in the various events.”

There is an opening reception and artist’s lecture on Oct. 16, from 5 to 8 p.m. with Michael Bitz, founder and director of the Comic Book Project. The artists’ lecture is at 5 p.m.

On Nov. 13, Koichi Watanabe, artist and associate professor, Department of Education, Fukushima University, Japan will present “A Child’s Eye: The Meaning of Bodies as Seen Through the Pictorial World of Children” on Nov. 13, from 5 to 6 p.m. Professor Watanabe is recognized internationally as an artist, art educator and scholar. He has a current performance art show titled Life Casting that features 102-year-old Butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno.

“There are two overall goals of this collaborative touring exhibition based on the theme of the Japanese popular culture of manga,” said Toku. “One is to re-examine the value and the power of Japanese pop culture from tradition to innovation to understand its new role in the development of children’s healthy mental growth. The other is to introduce the value and the new role of Japanese popular culture as a communicative tool to audiences—teachers, students and community in Japan, the U.S. and possibly South American countries.”

Other events in the Way of Asia series
Far East Fusion! Art of Food and Fashion I
(Tea Ceremony & Kimono Auction)
Friday, Oct. 17, 2008
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Humanities Center
Advance tickets: $10 / Students $5
Part one of a two-part event will include formal kimono and tea ceremony. Fine Japanese traditional kimono and accessories will also be auctioned, all as a benefit for Japan Chico Women’s Club and Art Education at Chico State.

Far East Fusion! Art of Food and Fashion II
(Sushi Demo & Contest) Friday, Nov. 14, 2008
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Humanities Center
Advance tickets: $10 / Students $5
Part two of this event will feature sushi demonstrations and sushi tastings, and a sushi as art exhibit and competition. All proceeds will benefit for Japan Chico Women’s Club and CSU, Chico Art Education program. More information and Sushi as Art entry forms are available through the CSU, Chico art department or by e-mailing Dr. Masami Toku at mtoku@csuchico.edu.