Japan Goes Pop

By Kayla Allen
For years Japanese pop art has been popular and recognizable worldwide but in recent years with video games and anime becoming more like moving masterpieces and just as suitable for adults as children, Japanese pop art has become more pervasive than ever.
From fine art to manga (Japanese comic books), to the stationary you write your letters on, Japanese pop images and icons are everywhere.
Even with its international growth, nowhere is Japanese pop art more popular than in Japan. Manga crosses all parts of society and age groups with themes and images to entertain and attract all its audience members. In Japan it is not uncommon to see a business man reading a manga at lunch in a restaurant or a woman reading a romance manga on the bus.
Though Japanese pop hasn't reached those proportions in the states yet, when I look around my house, I have to say, we may just get there.
My refridgerator and home are covered in Nara. An artist with his beginnings in manga, Yoshitomo Nara has taken a huge role in American pop culture, art culture and my home. You can walk into both popular clothing stores and popular art galleries in the states and see his images. His reach is widespread and I hope it only grows.
While I'm not a big video game fan, when I saw how fun Katamari Domacy is, it became the first video game that I've purchased as an adult. Designed by a starving Japanese artist who had to go to work for a big company to pay the bills, he said his intentions in designing this game were to make people happy. It's done just that with hysterical imagery and happy inducing music to boot.
When manga met America's hardcore comic fans it instantly gained popularity and a permanent rapt audience. And although our market for manga may never quite reach that of Japan's, anime is now a mainstay for television before and after school and on Saturday mornings as well. So with millions of children growing up with these images I'm wagering Japanese pop is here to stay.

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