Growing up, like me, you may have been well into Japanese culture, with no idea it was Japanese. Whether it was Astroboy, Pokemon, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Mobile Suit Gundam or Hello Kitty, some kind of Japanese culture permeated your subconscious. And that was before we finding out what otaku meant as an adult. At the end of a nondescript, curved food court near the Conservatorium, The Japan Foundation has put together Japan: Kingdom of Characters. The exhibition aims to survey the heroes, villains, memes and icons from Japanese culture which have swept across the world. Which it does, quietly collecting a bevy of personal mythologies and dreams.
If all this culture isn't enough by itself, the Japan Foundation is also offering you a series of talks covering character design, cult pilgrimages to fictional characters and more. These talks will alternate with the Foundation's already running Anime film series, screening biweekly. If you like giant robots, jumpsuits or oversize cats, the Japanese Foundation anticipates your need.
The Japan Foundation Gallery is open 11-4, Monday to Friday and every second Saturday. (16 and 30 April, 14 and 28 May during the exhibition.) It opens late Wednesday nights, to 8.30pm.