Pokemon x Kogei Exhibition Combines Character and Japanese Fine Art

Japan House L.A. merges Pokemon and Japanese fine art.

Pokemon have taken up residence at Japan House Los Angeles for the Pokemon x Kogei | Playful Encounters of Pokémon and Japanese Craft exhibition. The artwork melds the worlds of the popular pocket monsters and traditional Japanese craft into pieces that are both playful and absolutely stunning. ComicBook.com's Aaron Perine was invited to tour the space and learn more about the artists and their fascinating work. The Pokemon Company is also very excited for people to see what they've got going on. 

During an interview held at The Pokemon World Championships, COO Takato Utsunomiya told ComicBook.com and other journalists he was looking forward to Pokemon x Kogei. ComicBook.com's Christian Hoffer was in attendance to hear all about it. You can expect more of this "vertical expansion" of The Pokemon brand in the coming years.

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(Photo: Taku Saki/Tokyo House L.A.)

"One of the things that we've recently done that I've personally been very interested in is, this Koga exhibit. We actually have a popup going on in Los Angeles right now where it's a Pokemon and these kind of traditional Japanese crafts," Utsunomiya said. "We've collaborated with a lot of these craftsmen and craftswomen to make... Really, it comes across initially as not really maybe an intuitive match Pokemon in this traditional crafts, but they've made a lot of really interesting creations, very high quality. 

He added, "So of course expanding horizontally our product categories is important, but also this more kind of vertical expansion, kind of delving deeper into certain categories and coming up with these interesting matches I think is something I want to explore more."

What Kinds of Artwork Are Present At Pokemon x Kogei?

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(Photo: Jolteon (Detail), 2022 | Taiichiro Yoshida | Photo by Taku Saiki)

Pokemon x Kogei is centered around a number of concepts for each section of the exhibition. Over in Japan House L.A., you can see all of the artwork until January, and we got to look at some of the most stand-out pieces from the collection. Upon entering the space, you can't help but notice Taiichiro Yoshida's Eevee-lution meditation themed around "Appearance." Although it focuses on the first three classic Eevee evolutions, Jolteon, Vaporeon, and Flareon, the artist brings them to life in ways you've never seen them before.

Each sculpture from the metal artist uses smaller metallic elements crafted by hand to assemble the separate Pokemon. This is a storied tradition in Japanese metal working working with a nukitagane (punching chisel) to achieve the look. Also, the eyes are oversized and luminous, which also catch the visitors' eyes as they view the work from all angles.  

The Wonder of the Pikachu Forest

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(Photo: Pikachu's Adventures in a Forest (Installation Detail), 2022 | Reiko Sudo | Photo by Masayuki Hayashi)

The last section of the exhibition deserves a large shout out as well. While video is discouraged in the art space, Reiko Sudo's "Pikachu Forrest" absolutely begs to be photographed. 900 strands of lace are suspended from the ceiling in that trademark yellow and visitors are allowed to walk through and experience the beauty of the lace from all sides. There are four distinctive designs for Pikachu and the detailing on each individual Pokemon is absolutely stunning. The other lace work in the vines that suspend the mascot character are also so intricate that it has to be seen to be believed.

In a way, the "Pikachu Forest" is emblematic of the entire Pokemon x Kogei exhibition. Yes, the characters themselves are very recognizable if you knew what you were looking for. But, even for longtime fans, there is a value to zooming in and considering your favorites from a different angle. As a singular expeirence centered around Pokemon and art, it's hard not to recommend a visit to Tokyo House L.A. for any franchise die-hard.

Pokemon x Kogei | Playful Encounters of Pokémon and Japanese Craft runs until January 7, 2024.

Would you want to visit this unique Pokemon installation? Let us know down in the comments!