Protests broke out this week in Japan over an exhibit by manga artist Aida Makoto, a painter known for his sexualized and often controversial comic imagery. According to Bloomberg, the angry art patrons -- led by a group called People Against Pornography and Sexual Violence -- are demanding the removal of Makoto's current retrospective from the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, claiming his works are "misogynistic."
The exhibit in question, titled "Monument for Nothing," features several paintings of dismembered -- sometimes cannibalistic -- female figures. Many are drowning in a giant bloody blender while others are depicted playing with severed heads and intestines. The works are certainly violent in nature, so much so that part of the exhibit is hidden behind a black curtain restricted to visitors 18 years or older. There, Makoto showcases paintings of a multi-headed monster raping a young robotic girl.
But are the works significantly more gory than other works found online? “It’s not so bad compared to manga and anime on the Internet,” Nanjo Fumio, the museum's director, said in an interview with Bloomberg. “This artist’s vision is about our society, which is hidden and (which) often people don’t look at.”
The exhibit is described on the museum's website as an attempt to identify the existing peculiarities of contemporary Japanese society. Further exhibit grotesqueries include a red room walled with images of human intestines, a limbless girl leashed like a dog, and a large-scale canvas depicting a mountain landscape created from the tumbling bodies of businessmen. So far, the museum has not yet made any moves to censor the works.
Do People Against Pornography and Sexual Violence have a point, or is this an arbitrary attack on otaku culture? See a slideshow of the work below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Correction: In an earlier version of this article, we stated that half the exhibition is behind a curtain, when in fact it is a single room that is restricted. We regret the error.