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Exhibitions - 05.02.2024 - 11.03.2024

Yes, KAWAII is Art
-EXPRESS YOURSELF-

“Colorful Rebellion -Seventh Nightmare-” with Sebastian Masuda “Colorful Rebellion -Seventh Nightmare-” with Sebastian Masuda, Photo by Yuta Sawamura

Dates

05.02.2024 (Thu.) – 11.03.2024 (Sun.)

Hours

Mon. – Fri. | 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Sat. – Sun.  | 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Location

JAPAN HOUSE Gallery, Level 2

Fee

Free

Japanese kawaii culture has evolved into a global phenomenon, captivating people across borders and transcending cultural boundaries. The term “kawaii” translates to “cute” or “adorable,” yet its influence has come to extend far beyond aesthetics, encompassing fashion, art, technology, and even social behavior. With the exhibition, “Yes, KAWAII is Art -EXPRESS YOURSELF-,” JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles is excited to partner with artist Sebastian Masuda to share an in-depth look at the origins of the colorful kawaii style, its development and its profound cultural significance, transcending its perception as a fashion look or trend.

Shop staff and customers of 6%DOKIDOKI “6%DOKIDOKI (1995-) *Harajuku shop/fashion brand created by Sebastian Masuda in 1995. This is a group photo from a 2019 fashion show in Canada.

Shop staff and customers of 6%DOKIDOKI “6%DOKIDOKI” (1995-) *Harajuku shop/fashion brand created by Sebastian Masuda in 1995. The models are the shop staff and customers of 6%DOKIDOKI.

Shop staff and customers of 6%DOKIDOKI “6%DOKIDOKI” (1995-) *Harajuku shop/fashion brand created by Sebastian Masuda in 1995. The models are the shop staff and customers of 6%DOKIDOKI.

Shop staff and customers of 6%DOKIDOKI “6%DOKIDOKI” (1995-) *Harajuku shop/fashion brand created by Sebastian Masuda in 1995. The models are the shop staff and customers of 6%DOKIDOKI.

Shop staff and customers of 6%DOKIDOKI “6%DOKIDOKI (1995-) *Harajuku shop/fashion brand created by Sebastian Masuda in 1995. The models are the shop staff and customers of 6%DOKIDOKI.

“Yes, KAWAII is Art -EXPRESS YOURSELF-” is the first exhibition in which Masuda, known as the “King of Kawaii,” brings together multiple artworks unravelling the concepts within the phenomena while introducing his personal story of sharing kawaii with the world. Through his collection of artifacts from the origins of the culture and dazzling immersive art installations, visitors are invited to explore the cultural context and significance of the kawaii movement and step into the colorful world to feel the aesthetic for themselves, emphasizing its role in fostering a sense of joy, innocence, and community as a tool for self-expression and representation of a worldwide tribe to which we can all belong.

“Colorful Rebellion -WORLD TIME CLOCK-” (2014) “Colorful Rebellion -WORLD TIME CLOCK-” (2014)

 “Colorful Rebellion -WORLD TIME CLOCK-” (2014)

 “Time After Time Capsule” (2015, NY) Photo by Yusuke Sakamoto

 “Colorful Rebellion -Seventh Nightmare-” (2014, NY) Photo by GION

 “Digital Tribe World Map via Kawaii (2021) Photo by Kyoto University of the Arts

 “Kawaii Map 1945-2020” (2021)

The exhibition features Masuda’s Kawaii Timeline created as part of a research project led by the artist and his studio in collaboration with Kyoto University of the Arts, which illustrates the historical roots of kawaii culture in Japan, tracing its evolution from post-war media and shōjo manga to its expansion into a global phenomenon from within the Harajuku district of Tokyo in the 1990s. Multiple art pieces from Masuda’s catalog foster discovery and engagement. Pieces like Digital Tribe World Map and Sense Share Bear, an interactive VR work, were inspired by the desire of the global kawaii network to connect with each other during the COVID-19 pandemic. An intimate, immersive room installation, Colorful Rebellion -Seventh Nightmare- envelopes small groups of guests in the colors and aesthetic of kawaii developed by Masuda from the epicenter of Harajuku.

Masuda’s objective within the exhibition is to analyze and share his perspectives on kawaii, unveiling its diverse aspects. Masuda describes kawaii as “a personal microcosmos of beloved things, undisturbed by anyone else.” This exhibition vividly reflects these words, inviting the audience into an adventure of self-expression, unlocking the infinite potential held within each individual.

“It is my hope that by engaging with Japan’s pop culture and the philosophy of kawaii, visitors will be encouraged to reflect on what's unique about themselves and contemplate how to navigate the social & personal challenges of the future. I would be delighted if exploring these diverse perspectives could become a hint for living into tomorrow.”
 – Sebastian Masuda

Read Artist Statement

Interactive Experiences

Colorful Rebellion -Seventh Nightmare-

“Colorful Rebellion -Seventh Nightmare-” (2014, NY) Photo by GION

The intimate and immersive room installation, Colorful Rebellion -Seventh Nightmare-, expresses various elements of kawaii by Masuda and is comprised of seven themes inspired by the Seven Deadly Sins, such as Desire and Delusion. This installation will be available for guests to experience during the below hours.

Regular Hours
• Mon. – Fri. | 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
• Sat. – Sun.  | 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM

*Entry: No reservations required. Walk-ins welcome. Wait times may vary.
*Group: Guests may enter as a group of up to 6 people at a time
*Viewing: Up to 2 minutes per group

About the Artwork

Sense Share Bear

Sense Share Bear (2021) “Sense Share Bear” (2021)

“Sense Share Bear” Still from interactive VR artwork (2021) “Sense Share Bear” Still from interactive VR artwork (2021)

“Sense Share Bear” Still from interactive VR artwork (2021) “Sense Share Bear” Still from interactive VR artwork (2021)

The immersive Sense Share Bear VR experience will be available during the hours below. *Reservations are not required. Wait times may vary.

Opening Week*
*Subject to change
• Dates: Thur. 05.02 – Sun. 05.05.2024
• Time:  Limited hours between 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Regular Hours (Weekdays Only)*
*Subject to change
• Dates: Mon. 05.06 – Sun. 11.03.2024
• Time:  Limited hours between 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
 

About Sebastian Masuda

Photo by GION

Masuda began his career in theater and contemporary art in the early 1990s. In 1995, he opened the fashion shop 6%DOKIDOKI which became a platform for artistic expression. Currently working out of both Tokyo and New York, Masuda creates works that transcend the boundaries of art, fashion, and entertainment, showcasing a consistent and unique sense of color. From 2009 to 2011, Masuda conducted the "Harajuku Kawaii Experience" world tour, spreading awareness about the history of Harajuku and kawaii culture in over 20 cities, with a focus on Europe ...  Read more.

and the United States. As art director for Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's 2011 "PONPONPON" music video, Masuda was pivotal in introducing kawaii culture to the world. In 2015, he created Tokyo's Kawaii Monster Cafe, and in 2023, produced the restaurant SUSHIDELIC in New York, further contributing to the global recognition of kawaii culture.

Exhibition-Related Program

Yes, KAWAII is Art | Harajuku Day in Hollywood
Harajuku Day
Photo by Mambastic Photography
 

Date

05.04.2024 (Sat.)

Time

12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Location

Ovation Hollywood Courtyard

Fee

Free admission. Costs vary based on vendor.

Join us for this special, one-day event of Harajuku Day’s first ever popup in Hollywood. The event will feature various local vendors showcasing their kawaii clothing, accessories, and other original items, as well as a special pop-up booth of the 6%DOKIDOKI brand from exhibition creator and artist Sebastian Masuda.

Check Event

Exhibition Credits

Presented by
JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles

Curatorial Supervision
Sebastian Masuda Studio
Six Percent Inc.

With support from
ASOBISYSTEM Co., Ltd.
 

Media Sponsors

LAist and Los Angeles Magazine logos

Promotional Partners

2024 Animation is Film Festival & Starbucks logos

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