It’s official.  I’m packing my bags and moving in to Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens!  As much as I tried to resist, they pushed me. Poked and prodded with upcoming exhibits like Japan’s Robot Kingdom (June 16 thru Sept. 13), Robot Day (July 18), Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani (Oct. 6 thru Jan. 31) and Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World (Feb. 23 thru May 22, 2016). They left me with no choice.

Japan’s Robot Kingdom

JUNE 16 — SEPT 13

In the past 50 years, Japan has played a leading role in technological advancements, particularly in robotics. Robots have occupied an integral part of Japanese popular culture and society for many decades, not only as subjects of sci-fi comics, films, and other forms of entertainment but also as a means of advancing developments in the natural and social sciences. This exhibition explores Japan’s vast robot kingdom by way of a variety of vintage toys, figurines, and other robot forms including the furry seal, Paro, a therapy robot created to calm and comfort those in need.


Cat with Okinawan White Fish by Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani
Cat with Okinawan White Fish by Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani

Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani

OCT. 6 – JAN. 31, 2016

Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani was a fiercely independent Japanese American artist who lost his family and friends to the United States internment camps during World War II and Hiroshima’s atomic bombing. He survived the trauma of those two significant events and homelessness by creating art every day. Mr. Mirikitani passed away at the age of 92 on October 21, 2012 in New York City. This remarkable exhibition about the art and life of Mr. Mirikitani is a poignant exploration of the lasting impacts of war and discrimination and the healing power of creativity.

[Recommendation: Watch The Cats of Mirikitani, if you haven’t.]


Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World

FEB. 23 – MAY 22, 2016

Japanese Man with Tattoo Sleeves
Perseverance: Yokohama Horiken

A ground breaking exhibition and the first of its kind, curated by Takahiro Kitamura and photographed and designed by Kip Fulbeck, Perseverance will explore the artistry of traditional Japanese tattoos along with its rich history and influence on modern tattoo practices. The exhibit underscores Japanese tattooing as an art form by acknowledging its roots in ukiyo-e prints and examines current practices and offshoots of Japanese tattooing in the U.S. and Japan. As Japanese tattoos have moved into the mainstream, the artistry and legacy of Japanese tattooing remain both enigmatic and misunderstood. Often copied by practitioners and aficionados in the West without regard to its rich history, symbolism, or tradition, the art form is commonly reduced to a visual or exotic caricature. Conversely, mainstream Japanese culture still dismisses the subject itself as underground, associating it more with some of its clientele than with the artists practicing it. Both of these mindsets ignore the vast artistry and rich history of the practice.

Perseverance features the work of seven internationally acclaimed tattoo artists, Horitaka, Horitomo, Chris Horishiki Brand, Miyazo, Shige, Junii, and Yokohama Horiken, along with tattoo works by selected others.

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