Google’s application service “Google Arts & Culture” in collaboration with the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry and 12 cultural institutions across Japan started an online exhibition exploring Japanese manga on Thursday, March 24, 2022.
The virtual exhibition titled “Manga out of the Box” comprehensively introduces a visual history of manga, a timeline of manga art, insights from artists and editors, and its influence globally.
Starting with the controversial topic consisting of the exact origin of the manga, the event delves into its history with scrolls of 12th-century bird and beast caricatures, and 19th-century Western caricatures.
Furthermore, another section of the exhibition introduces the users to famous authors such as Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy, Black Jack) and Fujiko F. Fujio(Doraemon) and detailed visual history of their works.
Users of Manga Out of the Box can also enjoy the ongoing project, Doraemon x Takashi Murakami – an expression of Murakami’s lifelong fondness for Fujiko F. Fujio’s manga classic.
More than 72,000 images and 100 online exhibits are featured in the exhibition showing manga’s influence in fashion, internet culture, video games, and contemporary art throughout the generations.
One of the most important attractions of this online exhibition is the Giga Manga web app, which utilizes machine learning technology to create manga-style ink drawings.
It offers a service that completes manga-style illustrations by randomly drawing lines and circles using “Magic mode”. Even with illustrations drawn freely without using “Magic mode”, machine learning will help the users to paint their images with favorite colors. The completed illustrations can be downloaded and shared on social media sites.
Google Arts & Culture is a service that allows users to appreciate the works and cultural heritage of over 2000 museums and galleries worldwide (including over 100 in Japan). Launched in 2011, users can access more than 6 million works of art and historical materials from the website and app, including Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Ito Jakuchu’s Trees, Flowers, Birds, and Beasts, and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
Google Arts & Culture has collaborated with museums all over the world to create and deliver services and tools that enable people all over the world to easily access diverse cultural heritage via the Internet.