Main event of Summer

Ballet Manga ~Leap above the beauty~


© 山岸凉子/メディアファクトリー

Shojo manga culture flowered after the war, and one of its most often drawn themes is the ballet. The image that most Japanese people have of ballet, that of a white tutu and pointe shoes, is one that spread and became the norm thanks to manga. Compared to other countries, ballet in Japan is seen as a hobby rather than a spectacle, and developed into something that individuals do.

During this exhibition, we will present the work of twelve representative ballet manga artists. Divided into two parts, during each part there are about 60 items on display, most of them original art, but also magazines from back when ballet manga first gained prominence.

While getting an insight into the relationship between shojo manga and the development of ballet, as well as the link between the reception of ballet in Japan and manga, have a look at how ballet manga historically developed up to the present.

We are also exhibiting items on loan to us from the Kenji Usui Ballet Collection at Hyogo Performing Arts Center, and costumes used in actual performances, from the Ryuko Arima Company at Kyoto Ballet Academy.

We have planned some related events, and hope to see you there.


July 13 - September 23, 2013
10am - 6pm (Admission to the museum until 5:30 pm)

*Closed on:Wednesdays ※ But open every day between 7/11 (Thu) and 9/3 (Tue)

Changing of exhibition content

First part:July 13 - August 19
*Gallery 1, 2, and 3 will be close at 4 pm. on August 19 to exchange exhibition contents
Second part:August 20 - September 23

Venue Kyoto International Manga Museum 2F Galleries 1, 2, and 3 
Fee Free * However, a General Admission ticket to the Museum is required.

Head of supervision: Tomoko Yamada (manga researcher), Ballet supervision: Naoko Haga (Dance researcher),
Research cooperation: Yuri Konishi, Moyo Uzuki (Tosho no ie)
Research and writing: Hosei Iwashita (Saga Women's University Lecturer), Kayoko Kuramochi (Kyoto International Manga Museum Researcher)

Structure of the exhibition


薄井憲二バレエ・ コレクション


「マキの口笛」© 牧美也子


「ふたりのエリカ」© 北島洋子


© 山岸凉子/メディアファクトリー

  1. The origin of ballet manga (From the Taisho to the early Showa period)

    When did ballet arrive in Japan? In this part we explore the reception of ballet before the war as well as the origins of ballet manga. There are a lot of very rare items on exhibit, like old romantic pictures, dating back to the middle 18th century, from the Kenji Usui Ballet Collection at Hyogo Performing Arts Center. Don't miss the shojo magazines from the Taisho era, as well as the lyrical picture panels of Kasho Takahata.

  2. The era of ballet manga (1950s - 1970s)

    The post-war boom in ballet ran nearly parallel to the boom in shojo manga. The ballet mania of the time was often depicted in panels in shojo magazines of the era. We are exhibiting original art from best-selling ballet manga works from this period, like Macoto Takahashi, Miyako Maki, Yoko Kitajima, and Kimiko Uehara.

    Examples of an exhibited items Original art from Macoto Takahashi's Little Rat, Miyako Maki's The Magic Flute, Yoko Kitajima's The Two Erikas, and Kimiko Uehara's Mariko-chan series.

  3. A time of change for ballet manga (1970s to present)

    Arabesque, a series by Ryoko Yamagishi that was serialized in 1971, was an epoch making work that focused on the artistic and physical expression of the ballet. Here, we focus on the appeal of this author's work.

    Examples of an exhibited itemsOriginal art from Ryoko Yamagashi's Arabesque, Maihime Terepsikola (The dancing girl Τερψιχόρα), and more.

  4. Ballet manga get organized (1970s - present)

    From the 1970s onward, many deep dramatical ballet manga appear. Please look at the evolution of ballet manga by looking at the works of Kyoko Ariyoshi, Moto Hagio, Satoru Makimura, Megumi Mizusawa, and Masahito Soda.

    Examples of an exhibited itemsOriginal art from Kyoko Ariyoshi's SWAN, Moto Hagio's Flower Festival, Satoru Makimura's Do Da Dancin' Venezia International Edition, Megumi Mizusawa's Toe Shoes, Masahito Soda's Subaru, and more.

  5. Where is ballet manga heading for?

    What is ballet manga to manga artists? What is it they try to express with ballet manga? In this part, we think about what is next for ballet manga.

    Examples of an exhibited itemsOriginal art from Hideko Mizuno's Ruzimatov's Ballet Pictures, Mineo Maya's Patariro! Introduction to Ballet (ballet this and that), and more.

Related events

Opening lecture and round table
Ballet Manga Exhibition Gaiden!

Thing that remained unsaid in the exhibition, the particular charm of ballet manga, the members of the ballet manga research group will talk about all of these topics and more.

Date and Time July 13, 2013
1 - 4pm
Venue Kyoto International Manga Museum 3F Research room 1
Fee Free * However, a General Admission ticket to the Museum is required.
Speakers Part 1 Special lecture "Ballet in pictures",
lecturer: Naoko Haga.
Part 2 Round table discussion: "The charm of ballet manga".
Speakers: Tomoko Yamada, Naoko Haga, Yuri Konishi, Moyo Uzuki, Hosei Iwashita
Capacity 50 seats
Participation No prior registration required

Megumi Mizusawa Talkshow, "Toe Shoes and Ribbons"


「トウ・シューズ」© 水沢めぐみ/集英社

A talkshow featuring Toe Shoes author Megumi Mizusawa. While we listen to Ms. Mizusawa, who has learned ballet herself, talk about the appeal of ballet, she will also talk us anecdotes from behind the scenes of the work on Toe Shoes , and more about how it is to work with magazines like "Ribbon" and "Cookie".

Date and Time August 17, 2013
2 - 4pm
Venue Kyoto International Manga Museum 1F Multipurpose Hall
Fee Free * However, a General Admission ticket to the Museum is required.
Capacity 250 seats
Participation No prior registration required
We will distribute numbered tickets on the day of the event within the museum, starting at 10am.

Talk show
Talk show with Mineo Maya "The dancing gag manga artist"



We've invited Mineo Maya, author of "Patariro!" for a talk show during which he will talk about learning ballet himself.

Date and Time August 18, 2013 2 - 4 pm
Venue Kyoto International Manga Museum, 1F, Multi purpose hall
Fee Free * However, a General Admission ticket to the Museum is required.
Capacity 250 seats (on a first come basis)
Participation Pre-registration is not required
*We will distribute numbered tickets in the museum at 10 pm, on the day of the event.

Ballet Classroom
Ballet for beginners

The Arima Ballet Company, associated with Kyoto Ballet Academy, will hold a ballet class inside Kyoto International Manga Museum. Why not try to learn some of the ballet you admire in manga?

*Directions will be given in Japanese

Date and Time August 14, 2013
Course 1: 1 - 2 pm / Target participants: beginners, elementary school students 
Course 2: 2:30 - 3:30 pm / Target participants: beginners, adults (and everyone older than 12)
Venue Kyoto International Manga Museum 1F Multipurpose Hall
Fee Free * However, a General Admission ticket to the Museum is required.
Capacity 40 students for each course *If there are a lot of applications, there will be a lottery

Prior registration required. Only by mail or fax.

Please fill out the registration from, with your name(s), up to 2 participants per form, age, gender, and contact address (mail or fax). And send it to: FAX(075-254-7424)

* On the day of the event, please wear clothes that are easy to move in.

Deadline 7/ 10 (Wed)
* Those whose registration is successful will be notified by 7/15 (Mon, holiday) by mail or fax.

Related Workshop
MM workshop "Let's make a mobile"

While making cut-outs, we can learn about ballet poses and positions. Let's make a dancing mobile that floats that moves in the gentle breeze! There is also a corner when you can practice the five basic ballet positions. If it's your first time, make sure to try it!

Period July 7 - September 23, 2013, every Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
Every day between July 20 - August 25
(1) 11 am ~, (2) 1 pm ~, (3) 2 pm ~, (4) 3 pm ~ , (5) 4 pm ~
Make sure to line up at the venue 10 minutes before the workshop starts.
Venue Kyoto International Manga Museum 1F Atrium
Fee Free * However, a General Admission ticket to the Museum is required.
Required time about 45 minutes

12 seats

Participation no pre-registration required, reception at the venue

The catalogue "Ballet Manga

Leap above the beauty" (Ota publishing) is on sale for 2,940yen , at the Museum Shop. You cannot buy this catalogue anywhere else, so please take advantage of the occasion to get it here.


「東京~パリ」© 高橋真琴

Makoto Takahashi

Born in 1934 in Osaka prefecture, Takahashi began drawing akahon (red book) and kashihon (rental book) manga in the 1950s and then debuted in "Shojo" magazine with Kanashimi no Hamabe (Shore of Sorrow), serialized from 1957. Starting with this work, many of his manga were ballet themed. He also greatly influenced later artists with his unique aesthetic style, such as depicting shining stars in the pupils of his characters eyes. After the end of Puchi Ra (Petit Rat) in 1962, he moved away from manga to working on non-sequential artwork and presently holds two solo art exhibitions a year.


「マキの口笛」© 牧美也子

Miyako Maki

Born in 1935 in Hyogo prefecture, Maki debuted with the rental book Haha Koi Warutsu (Mother's Love Waltz) in 1957. Starting with Maki no Kuchibue (Maki's Whistle) in 1960 she created gorgeous ballet manga which depicted a world that girls dreamed of, and won her overwhelming popularity with readers. At the same time, the toy maker Takara released the doll Licca-chan modelled on Maki's other artwork, for which she is also famous. Around the end of the 1960s she also began to publish manga for adults that contributed greatly to the spread of present day "Ladies Comics."


「ふたりのエリカ」© 北島洋子

Yoko Kitajima

Born in 1943 in Tokyo, Kitajima debuted with Kōri no Shiro (Ice Castle) published in "Shojo Club". After graduating high school she worked as Hideko Mizuno's assistant, while contributing her own works to "Weekly Shojo Friend" and other magazines. Her manga Nairu no Ōkan (Crown of the Nile; story written by Miyazaki Tsutomu), also serialized in "Weekly Shojo Friend" was as romance set in ancient Egypt and inspired many subsequent artists. Her work Sweet Lala (1967) became the lead manga of "Ribon" magazine at the time, and since then she has also produced illustrations for school children's magazines.


「舞子の詩」© 上原きみ子

Kimiko Uehara

Born in 1946 in Gifu prefecture, Uehara debuted in 1965 with the rental manga Kuro Kosumosu no Hana Kotoba (Black Cosmos Floral Language) under the pen name Kimiko Kaneda. After publishing hits such as Rorii no Seishun (Young Days of Rolly) (1973), and Honō no Romance (Flaming Love) (1975) in "Weekly Shojo Comic", she produced work for school children's magazines from about the 1980s. Her popular manga Mari-chan Series (1980) continued for 10 years. Since 1991, her manga Inochi no Utsuwa (Life Vessel) featuring a gynaecologist as the protagonist, continues to be serialized in "For Mrs". today.


© 山岸凉子/メディアファクトリー

Ryoko Yamagishi

Born in 1947 in Hokkaido prefecture, Yamagishi debuted with Left and Right in the 1969 May issue of "Ribon Comic". She moved to Tokyo in the same year, and rose to fame suddenly with the serialization of Arabesque from 1971. As well as her ballet stories, she went on to challenge herself across a wide range of genres including myths, horror, and essays etc. developing her own unique sphere of work. Her representative works include Ten-nin Karakusa (Celestial Arabesque) (1979), Hi Izuru Tokoro no Tenshi (Emperor of the Land of the Rising Sun) (1980) and Maihime Terepsikola (The dancing girl Τερψιχόρα) (2000).


「SWAN -白鳥-」© 有吉京子/平凡社

Kyoko Ariyoshi

Born in 1950 in Kumamoto prefecture, Ariyoshi debuted in 1971 with Koneko to Shojo (Kitten and Girl) in a special issue of "Weekly Margaret". In 1976 she won popularity with the start of the serialization of SWAN and followed with countless more ballet manga including Nijinsuki Guuwa (The Allegory of Nijinsky) (1984), Apuroozuu Kassai (Applause Acclamation) (1985), and others. Since 2005 she has been drawing sequels to SWAN for the ballet anthology magazine "SWAN Magazine", including Maia SWAN Act2 (2005) and SWAN Moscow Edition (2010).


「フラワーフェスティバル」© 萩尾望都/小学館

Moto Hagio

Born in 1949 in Fukuoka prefecture, Hagio debuted with Ruru to Mimi (Lulu and Mimi) in "Nakayoshi" in 1969. She gained fame with Pō no Ichizoku (The Poe Family), featuring a young vampire boy as the protagonist, published in Bessatsu Shojo Comic from 1972 to 1976. She focused on ballet manga from 1988 to 1992 and also wrote many essays about ballet during that period. Notable works include Tōma no Shinzō (Thomas' Heart) (1974), Hanshin (Demigod) (1984) and Zankoku na Kami ga Shihai suru (A Cruel God Reigns) (1992-2001) etc. In 2012, she was the first shojo manga artist awarded the Shijūhōshō (purple-ribboned medal for scholarly/artistic achievement).


「Do Da Danciin'ヴェネチア国際編」
© 槇村さとる/集英社クリエイティブ

Satoru Makimura

Born in 1956 in Tokyo prefecture, Makimura debuted with Shiroi Tsuioku (White Recollection) in " Bessatsu Margaret" in 1973. She had a huge hit with the figure skating themed manga Ai no Aranfesu (Love of Aranjuez) in 1978, and gained further popularity with Dancing Generation, about jazz dancing, in 1982. Since then she has widened her scope to working in young ladies magazines with the serialization of Oishii Kankei (Delicious Relationship) (1994), Real Clothes (2007), and others.


「トウ・シューズ」© 水沢めぐみ/集英社

Megumi Mizusawa

Born in 1963 in Osaka prefecture, Mizusawa debuted in "Ribon" with Kokoro ni Sotto Sasayaite (Whisper Softly to Heart). During the 1980s-90s in "Ribon" magazine's golden age, at a publishing record of 2.55 million issues, Mizusawa was one their most popular artists. Notable works include Hime-chan no Ribon (Princess' Ribbon). Since 2000 she has worked for "Cookie", and published more works including Kirakira 100% (Sparkle 100%) (2003) and Tera Gaaru (Temple Girl) (2012). She continues to draw universal shojo manga with broad range of artistic expression.


「昴」© 曽田正人/小学館

Masahito Soda

Born in 1968 in Tokyo prefecture, Soda debuted in 1990 with Get Rock in "Magazine Special". He had a hit with Megumi no Daigo (Firefighter Daigo) about a firefighter, serialized in "Weekly Shonen Sunday" from 1995. From the year 2000 his ballet manga Subaru was serialized in "Big Comic Spirits" and was the first ever long running ballet manga in a seinen (young men's) magazine. A sequel, MOON - Subaru Solitude Standing, was also serialized from 2007, and the work has been adapted into a film.


「バラの精 ルジマトフに寄せて」©水野英子

Hideko Mizuno

Born in 1939 in Yamaguchi prefecture, Mizuno caught the attention of Osamu Tezuka with her contributions to "Manga Shonen" when she was still in junior high school, and contributed to "Shojo Club" from 1955. She was the only female artist in the manga artists collective Tokiwa-so Group. In 1956 she debuted with Akkake Ponii (Red-mane Pony), also in Shojo Club. Her best known works include Hoshi no Tategoto (Harp of the Stars, 1960), Hanii Hanii no Suteki na Bōken (The Fantastic Adventure of Honey Honey, 1968), and Faiyaa! (Fire!, 1969).


「パタリロ!『バレエ入門』」© 魔夜峰央/白泉社

Minio Maya

Born in 1953 in Niigata prefecture, Maya debuted in "Deluxe Margaret" with Mishiranu Houmonsha (Unknown Visitor) in 1973. He opened the frontiers of gag manga with his works Rashaanu! and Patariro! which started serialization in 1978. The long running Patariro! still continues today, and already consists of 89 volumes (as of April 2013). His wife, Yoshimi Yamada, is head of Yamate Ballet House. Because of this he started learning ballet and performed The Dying Swan at a ballet school recital.

*Please note that the schedule, performers, and contents are subject to change.

-IMRC- 国際マンガ研究センター
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Karasuma-Oike, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-0846 Japan

TEL: +81-75-254-7414 FAX: +81-75-254-7424