OKASHI : 10 Portland Road

13 April - 30 June 2024
The Michael Hoppen Gallery is delighted to present a kaleidoscope of works crossing centuries, genre, and media, to reveal a different interpretation of Japan – neither a delicate vision of the Floating World, nor the kawaii kitsch of Hello Kitty’s homeland.


The concept of okashi has been used throughout Japanese aesthetic history to refer to those things which delight for their strangeness, their humour, or their power to intrigue. This show

illustrates an eclectic understanding of Japan’s visual identity by including photographs, vintage textiles, rich colourful avantgarde theatre posters, woodblock shunga prints and unusual objects, such as Netsuke and Harigata, contextualising the gallery’s interest in Japanese culture.


Michael Hoppen has travelled back and forth to Japan ever since and built up a varied and personal collection of Japanese materials. Okashi includes a collection of 1800s engravings which features depictions of ohaguro – the ancient Japanese practice of teeth blackening, a custom deemed alluring and beautiful which delighted in its strangeness. ‘Okashi’ gives a lively contextual backdrop against which to display works by Eikoh Hosoe from Ordeal by Roses (1963), the legendary collaborative series of portraits of author Yukio Mishima taken by this influential photographer. Included in the exhibition will be other important and rare works by

Masahisa Fukase from his seminal project ‘The Solitude of Ravens’, and important early works by other post-war legendary artists including Daido Moriyama, Masitoshi Naito, Shomei Tomatsu and Gen Ōtsuka, including his pictures of the Tokyo Ballet and Komaki Ballet companies.