LOS ANGELES – One of the world’s biggest entertainment franchises and Japanese craft techniques, both contemporary and refined over centuries, come together in “POKÉMON X KOGEI | Playful Encounters of Pokémon and Japanese Craft,” the new exhibition coming to JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles July 25, 2023 – January 7, 2024.
Debuting in the U.S. after opening to great acclaim at the Japan’s National Crafts Museum earlier this year, the exhibition features over 70 works created by 20 renowned Japanese artists using their skills and ever-evolving techniques in crafts including lacquer, ceramics, textiles, metalwork, and other media to creatively channel the world of the globally popular Pokémon brand.
The exhibition showcases celebrated artists ranging from Japan’s living national treasure and metal artist Morihito Katsura, to exciting young artists like sculptor Taiichiro Yoshida.
Ingenious creations include playful images of Pikachu, Rowlet, Litten, and Popplio stencil-dyed onto silk cloth, Charizard integrated into a large ceramic jar, and a dazzling Jolteon sculpted from individual pieces of gold- and silver-plated copper hammered into the shape of lightning bolts.
“POKÉMON X KOGEI” will swap out certain artworks during the exhibition’s run, giving attendees an opportunity to view new artwork on return visits to JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles.
“The talented artists behind the POKÉMON X KOGEI exhibit bring the Pokémon world to life in a never-before-seen way while honoring traditional Japanese artistry in each piece,” said Tsunekazu Ishihara, president and CEO of The Pokémon Company. “Our collaboration with JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles offers a unique platform to celebrate Japanese culture, as well as the artists, for fans of both the Pokémon brand and art. We’re honored to have the Pokémon brand be featured in this way and leverage its modern-day popularity to share the incredible legacy of Japanese craft with new audiences in the US.”
The original Pokémon games, Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green launched in Japan in 1996 where their popularity quickly grew.
Following tremendous success in Japan, the original games were released within a couple of years in the U.S. and the franchise expanded rapidly, remaining at the forefront of popular culture to this day. New generations of Pokémon games were launched over the years, as well as the popular Pokémon Trading Card Game, animated TV shows, movies, mobile games, toys, clothing, and other merchandise.
“While Pokémon and Japanese craft might seem like an unlikely pairing, there is an elemental connection between the two worlds. Just as there are distinct Pokémon types – such as Grass, Fire, Water, Ground, Steel and Electric – most of Japan’s principal crafts are created with grass, fire, water, earth and metal, and facilitated by electricity,” said Yuko Kaifu, president, JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles. “We’re excited to present this unique collaboration between one of the biggest entertainment properties originating in Japan and some of the country’s most talented craft artists – a pairing resulting in a collection of spectacular works of art that will delight art enthusiasts and gamers alike.”
The exhibition will also include related programs throughout the duration of the exhibition from July 2023 – January 2024.
Admission to the exhibition is free. Walk-ins are welcome and the gallery is open daily from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Mon. – Fri.) and 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Sat. – Sun.).