Yoshitomo Nara established his internationally renowned style of cartoon-like characters while living in Germany from the 1980s to the mid-'90s. His early works, he says, were derived from childhood memories and feelings of solitude while growing up in Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture. Now, however, he is inspired by traveling, meeting new people, and a love of art, literature, history and music.
Nara's portrayal of universally shared emotions and experiences has attracted many fans, who often relate to his art on a personal level. His recent works also feature subjects who stare directly at viewers.
Around 100 works will be on display, some of which are being shown in Japan for the first time. (Yukari Tanaka)