Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding Subculture

Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding Subculture is the companion catalogue to the exhibition "Little Boy" curated by artist Takashi Murakami. The book is about the aesthetics of postwar culture in Japan.

Little Boy: The Arts of Japan's Exploding Subculture
AuthorTakashi Murakami
Cover artistsu
SubjectModern art, Japanese popular culture
PublisherYale University Press
Publication date

The 448 pages hardcover book was published by Yale University in conjunction with a series of art exhibitions and music events in the Japan Society of New York in 2005. The book interprets the complex intuitive twist of postwar Japanese art while defining its high-spirited and naturally buoyant escape from human tragedy and the events of World War II. Takashi Murakami also coins the term superflat to chronicle the two-dimensional aspect of manga (comics) and anime (animated television and cinema). He argues how this international boom in pop media culture influenced Japanese fine art in relation to the social implications of superflat regarding the true impact of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 on Japanese art and culture. Little Boy is the code name for one of the atomic bombs that devastated Japan.

Little Boy also examines Kawaii (可愛さ kawaisa), the culture of cuteness which influenced Japan during the postmodernist era of the late 1900s; and the dissected pop-culture movement of Otaku. The book contains a collection of works including the first Godzilla, the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, and the paintings of Chiho Aoshima.

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