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Bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women), long a staple of ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) and its erotic sub-genre shunga (spring pictures), is mostly moribund in contemporary art. A variant form, however, lives on in shojo manga, serialized comic books that are often flush with romantic narratives and target, usually, a young female audience.

“Watanabe Masako and Kai Yukiko, Fantastic Journey” at The Kyoto International Manga Museum largely ditches shojo manga’s coy plots to focus on two women manga artists and how they portrayed their female characters. The exhibition is part of the museum’s regular series created to introduce the influence of well-known manga artists through faithful reproductions of their work.

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