June 23, 2017

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Riyoko Ikeda 50th Anniversary Exhibition

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An exhibition to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a prominent manga artist, Riyoko Ikeda is being held in the hall on the 8th floor of Nihonbashi Takashimaya from March 8th to the 20th. Ikeda was born in 1947 in Osaka and as a child she liked reading books. She went to a prestigious university dreaming of being a scholar, but her father thought that education was not necessary for women and was reluctant to support her advanced education. Ikeda thought that it was very important to become financially independent from her parents in order to be able to think critically of them. She started writing manga during her college days to support herself. After writing cartoons for a rental book store, she debuted writing a manga titled Barayashiki No Shojo. ( For those who want to see a photo of the comic, please search バラ屋敷の少女).

Her most acclaimed work is The Rose of Versaille, a historical fiction that revolved around the lives of both a fictional character Oscar (a woman who was forced to live as a male) and Marie Antoinette.  Ikeda was inspired to write The Rose of Versaille when she read the biography of Marie Antoinette by Stefan Zweig when she was a high school student.  The Rose of Versaille was published in a weekly manga magazine, Margarette from 1972 to 1973 and was later adapted into graphic novels. When she first proposed the idea to write The Rose of Versaille to the publisher, the publisher declined because at that time, comics that were popular among female audiences was primarily romance, and the publisher thought that a historical comic would not be well received. However, Ikeda persuaded the publisher that the comic would definitely be a hit. Soon after the first publication, The Rose of Versaille became very popular and sold over 200000 copies. The Rose of Versaille was adapted into a play by Takarazuka Revue in 1974, and due to its great popularity the play was performed repeatedly until 2014. In this exhibition, the costumes used in the plays are being displayed in addition to illustrations and photos of Ikeda’s other works.  

According to Yomiuri Shimbun, English version of The Rose of Versaille is due to be published in North America soon.  

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