anime / Art / Awesomesauce / Geek / Hyperculture / Science Fiction

Japanese Superflat Art Movement: Kawaii Meets Outer Space Oddball Awesome

takashi murakami

This mass-produced, Postmodern Art movement, founded by Takashi Murakami, is heavily influenced by both traditional Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock printmaking and the underlying impulses of contemporary Japanese manga, anime, and street culture. Superflat arose around the turn of this century in response to the increasingly generic nature of the Post War Japanese consumerist culture. It seeks to analyze the recent cultural obsession with youth and the seemingly superficial trends of the pop culture of Otaku (obsessive anime and manga fans–a term started in Japan, but now used in the US as well).


Utilizing the flattened, two-dimensional visual currency of this culture of “emptiness”, many of its artists’ works are both “kawaii” (cute) and disturbing, and hentai (Japanese porn) imagery is sometimes also employed in this mostly digitally-produced art. There is more than a bit of Sci Fi to some of the cartoony works and the juxtaposition of High art and low brow aesthetic makes it imminently marketable and appealing in Contemporary culture, not to mention very sought after in the West by those who are fans of the Japanese anime style.


Murakami is a bit like the Warhol of Japan in that he has factories of collaborative artists that work under and with him in both Japan and the US. Along with Murakami, Chiho Aoshima, Ava Takano, and Chinatsu Ban are the most internationally famous artists of this popular movement. Their work is not limited to paintings or digital prints either, Murakami produces sculptures, commerical products, and has even designed a Louis Vuitton bag. American music artists have also sought him out to design album covers. In addition, in Tokyo, he has  started a twice- yearly art fair called GESAI  that seeks to foster up and coming talent in Japan.  Chiho Aoshima’s work has lent itself to mural design. Her work can be seen on the walls of the 14th Street-Union Square subway station in New York City, and on display in the Gloucester Road Tube Station in London.





One thought on “Japanese Superflat Art Movement: Kawaii Meets Outer Space Oddball Awesome

  1. Pingback: TAKASHI MURAKAMI – Manga meets Versailles | Ici ou Ailleurs

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