January 11, 2018
THE Doraemon Exhibition Tokyo 2017: Create Your Own Doraemon
THE Doraemon Exhibition Tokyo 2017(THE ドラえもん展TOKYO 2017) took place at Mori Arts Center Gallery on the 52nd floor at Roppongi Hills Mori Tower in Tokyo from November 1st, 2017 to January 8th, 2018. Following the theme of “create your own Doraemon,” 28 artists of various generations (born in between the 1950’s and the 1990’s) created their own pieces of art inspired by Doraemon. The exhibition was quite popular and attracted 100,000 visitors as of December 14th, 2017 just a month and half after the exhibition opened. The visitors from various generations came to the exhibition including family with small children, an adult woman with an elderly mother, young couples and foreigners. The adults who were looking at the art seem to have been feeling nostalgia from their childhood memories, and observed the art with the innocent eyes of a child. There were several visitors wearing blue clothing items such as a jacket and a cap. It was uncertain if they wore the color of Doraemon to pay tribute to the character or just as a coincidence, but the blue looked very nice in combination with the art and seemed to have been a kind of artistic expression.
The fee of admission was 1,800 yen for adults, 1,400 yen for junior high and high school students, and 800 yen for children between 4 years old and 12 years old. The admission for the children under four years old was free. This exhibition had a very generous rule on taking photos, as you were able to take photos of most of the displays, but you were not allowed to take photos of the movies and animations. However, in regards with food, the rules were very strict and you were not allowed to eat even candy in the exhibit. Maybe it could have been due to Doraemon’s magical power, but the audience was very nice to each other.
While the exhibition was taking place, at a cafe on the same floor, THE SUN, the menu included items that featured Doraemon were available in addition to their regular menus. This cafe was quite popular and the cafe became a full house soon after the regular opening at 11 am and there were long lines in front of the cafe.
The exhibition will move to Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, which is the hometown of the author, Fujiko F. Fujio, in March. The exhibition will be held at Takaoka Art Museum from March 16th to May 6th, 2018.
The first “THE Doraemon exhibition” took place in Osaka in 2002, which is the 99th year since the author Fujiko F. Fujio was born. ( Fujiko F. Fujio was born in 1933 and passed away in 1996). After the exhibition in Osaka ended, the exhibition toured 13 localities across Japan during three years. ( In 2003 Kanagawa, Hokkaido, Aichi, and Oita. In 2004 Shima, Akita, Toyama, Kagawa, and Nagano. In 2005, Kumamoto, Fukushima, and Nagasaki.) 31 artists participated in the first exhibition, and four artists among them, Fukuda Miran, Yasumasa Morimura, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, took part in the second exhibition too. Their works displayed in the expo in 2002 were displayed with their works that were newly created for the 2017 exhibition too.
For those who do not know Doraemon, Doraemon is a name of a comic by Fujiko F. Fujio and also the name of a main character of the comic. Doraemon is a chat robot that came from the 22th century to save the miserable life of Nobita Nobi, who is a ten year old elementary school student who is often bullied by classmates and also has a poor academic record. Jyan, Big G. in the American version, and Suneo bullied Nobi, making both his school and personal life miserable. Publication of Doraemon started in 1969 in a comic magazine.
The total number of graphic novels have reached over 145 volumes. Animation of Doraemon started broadcasting in 1973 by TV Asahi and is still ongoing and aired from 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm every Friday. Doraemon was aired as Doraemon: Gadget Cat from Future in North America in 2005.
This piece was originally made for the exhibition in 2002. The story of this art piece is set in the summer of the 1970’s. Murakami created this remembering the time when he used to play around with his little brother at a vacant lot in an industrial area.