GeGeGe no Kitaro fans will be able step into the world of the popular Japanese manga series at Huashan 1914 Creative Park (華山1914) until April 29. GeGeGe no Kitaro’s Yokai Paradise (鬼太郎之妖怪樂園) uses multimedia to bring artist Shigeru Mizuki’s yokai, or monsters from Japanese folklore, to life.
A household name in Japan, Mizuki also enjoys a large and devoted fan base in Taiwan. Created in 1959, GeGeGe no Kitaro revolves around the adventures of Kitaro, a half-human, half-yokai boy, as he maneuvers between his two worlds. The manga is known for its wacky sense of humor and detailed illustrations.
Born in 1922, Mizuki began entering oil painting competitions as a schoolboy. While serving as a soldier in the World War II, Mizuki lost his left arm, but persevered with his art career after the war, creating comics with science fiction and fantasy themes. Since its first publication five decades ago, GeGeGe no Kitaro has been adapted into cartoon series and films, drawing in fans of all ages.
Mizuki’s hometown of Sakiminato is now a tourist attraction with a street dedicated to his creations. GeGeGe no Kitaro Yokai Paradise marks the first time an exhibition of this size dedicated to the manga has been held outside of Japan.
“We want to create something that will allow Taiwanese viewers to experience the world of yokai for themselves,” says organizer Wu Chia-fang (吳嘉芳).
Huashan 1914 Creative Park, which is housed in a former wine factory, was chosen as the event’s venue because of its atmosphere. GeGeGe no Kitaro’s Yokai Paradise is divided into eight spaces, each with its own theme. Forest spirits have their own space, as does a “yokai city plaza” where visitors can take photos with their favorite ghosts and monsters. A gallery will introduce the manga’s spooky but fun world to curious visitors.
What: GeGeGe no Kitaro’s Yokai Paradise (鬼太郎妖怪樂園)
When: Through April 29. Opening hours are 11am to 8pm. Closed Sunday for Lunar New Year
Where: Huashan 1914 Creative Park (華山1914), Center Five Hall (中五館), 1, Bade Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市八德路一段1號). Tel: (02) 8643-3966
Admission: Tickets are NT$220 for general admission and NT$200 for seniors and students with ID, available from 7-Eleven, Family Mart, Hi-Life, OK Mart and books.com.tw
All scenery and creatures were specially crafted for the event. Wu says that her team spent almost a year planning GeGeGe no Kitaro’s Yokai Paradise and have been working at Huashan 1914 Creative Park since
the end of November to create the elaborate, interactive displays.
A store will sell hard-to-find GeGeGe no Kitaro merchandise for diehard collectors. Items include figures, stuffed toys and T-shirts.