“Takashi Murakami Mononoke Kyoto”, the first Japan exhibition after 8 years and it might be the last?

As the cherry blossoms bloom and the air of tradition blends seamlessly with contemporary innovation, Kyoto welcomes a groundbreaking exhibition that promises to redefine the boundaries of art. The Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art proudly presents its 90th-anniversary celebration with the enigmatic works of Takashi Murakami in the exhibition “Takashi Murakami Mononoke Kyoto”, running from 3 February to 1 September 2024, at the Higashiyama Cube.

Source: Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art

For Murakami, acclaimed internationally but with roots deeply embedded in Japanese artistic tradition, this exhibition marks a homecoming of sorts. After nearly a decade since his last major solo exhibition in Japan and venturing beyond the confines of Tokyo for the first time, Murakami’s return is nothing short of a cultural event.

This exhibition holds particular significance as it not only marks Murakami’s first Japan domestic show outside Tokyo but also his first return to domestic exhibitions in Japan after eight years. Murakami himself has hinted that “Takashi Murakami Mononoke Kyoto” may very well be his last major exhibition in Japan, adding a bittersweet tinge to the air of anticipation surrounding the event.

The concept of “Superflat”, which he introduced at the turn of the millennium, revolutionised the art world by seamlessly merging traditional Japanese art forms with contemporary pop culture elements like anime, manga, and video games. This exhibition delves deeper into Murakami’s artistic psyche, offering visitors a glimpse into the essence of Japanese sensibility and social consciousness, all portrayed on a flattened plane that challenges conventional norms.

At the heart of the exhibition lies Murakami’s exploration of Kyoto, a city steeped in artistic heritage and cultural significance. Drawing inspiration from the Edo period painters who once roamed its streets, Murakami’s reinterpretation breathes new life into their timeless works. Through approximately 170 predominantly new pieces, including freshly painted masterpieces and previously unseen creations, Murakami invites us to embark on a journey through the corridors of history and imagination.

One of the most anticipated highlights is the installation of a monumental sculpture standing ten meters tall in the Japanese Garden. This awe-inspiring piece promises to captivate audiences with its sheer scale and symbolic significance, a testament to Murakami’s prowess in marrying art with grandeur.

Furthermore, the collaboration with luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton culminates in the unveiling of “Flower Parent and Child”, a golden sculpture symbolising hope amidst adversity. Originally unveiled in Tokyo, this masterpiece finds a new home in Kyoto, where it seeks to inspire and uplift visitors through its message of resilience and optimism.

Takashi Murakami’s artistic journey is as multifaceted as it is profound. From his early days studying nihonga to his emergence as a global icon challenging the status quo, Murakami’s influence reverberates across continents. His relentless pursuit of innovation and his commitment to pushing the boundaries of art continue to shape the landscape of contemporary culture.

As you step into the Higashiyama Cube, prepare to be mesmerised by the kaleidoscopic world of Takashi Murakami. Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or a curious newcomer, “Takashi Murakami Mononoke Kyoto” promises an immersive experience that transcends time and space, inviting you to unlock the mysteries of Murakami’s artistry.

Photo by Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
©2017 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

About the artist: Takashi Murakami*

Born in Tokyo in 1962, Takashi Murakami completed his doctorate at Tokyo University of the Arts in 1993. In 2000, he proposed the concept of “Superflat” as a form of contemporary culture that makes reference to the state of Japanese society by linking traditional Japanese art with the flatness of anime and manga. In 2001, he founded Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. and serves as its representative. In 2005, his exhibition Little Boy (Japan Society, New York) was awarded the Best Thematic Museum Show by the American branch of the International Association of Art Critics. Recent solo exhibitions include Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow (The Broad, LA, 2022), MurakamiZombie (Busan Museum of Art, Busan, 2023), Understanding the New Cognitive Domain (Gagosian, Le Bourget, 2023), and Takashi Murakami: Unfamiliar People – Swelling of Monsterized Human Ego (Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, 2023).

Exhibition Information:

  • Period: 3 February (Saturday) – 1 September (Sunday), 2024 (Some works subject to change)
  • Time: 10:00 − 18:00 (last admission 17:30)
  • Venue: Higashiyama Cube, Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art
  • Closed: Mondays (except public holidays)


  • Adult: ¥2,200 (Advance/Group ¥2,000)
  • University Student: ¥1,500 (Advance/Group ¥1,300)
  • High School Student: ¥1,000 (Advance/Group ¥800)
  • Free admission for Junior High students and younger
  • Free admission for university students and under living or attending school in Kyoto City with valid ID.

Tax included. Special tickets available for persons with disabilities and other categories.

*Information from Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art