Japanese Schoolgirls Grow Up

Feature

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Japanese schoolgirl image was made famous by comic books and cartoons. But not everyone thinks they’re so kawaii (cute). What do Japanese women make of this archetype? Lisa Katayama met three young art stars whose work reclaims and re-invents female pop imagery, in some disturbing ways. But don’t call them feminists.

→ See a video of Toast Girl and a slideshow of the art below

(Originally aired: February 6, 2009)

 

 

 

 

Video: Toast Girl in Action

 

Slideshow: The Art of Toast Girl and Erina Matsui

Lisa interviews Toast Girl at a bar in Golden Gai, an old Tokyo district of tiny bars that used to be brothels.
Leital Molad

Lisa Katayama interviews Toast Girl at a bar in Golden Gai, an old Tokyo district of tiny bars that used to be brothels.

Supersucker, 2001 by Toast Girl. Her mischievous use of household appliances has garnered the artist a large following among young Japanese women.
Toastie

Supersucker, 2001 by Toast Girl. Her mischievous use of household appliances has garnered the artist a large following among young Japanese women.

Supersucker New, 2001 by Toast Girl. Roller-skate vacuum cleaners have become a staple prop in the artist's repertoire.
Toastie

Supersucker New, 2001 by Toast Girl. Roller-skate vacuum cleaners have become a staple prop in the artist's repertoire.

Toast Girl at the window, 2004. The artist's name was coined in 1998 when, as an exchange student in Australia, she decided to toast a piece of bread while holding the toaster on her head.
courtesy of Hiroyuki Matsukage

Toast Girl at the window, 2004. The artist's name was coined in 1998 when, as an exchange student in Australia, she decided to toast a piece of bread while holding the toaster on her head.

24-year-old Erina Matsui says she just wants her bizarre paintings to make people laugh.
Leital Molad

24-year-old Erina Matsui says she just wants her bizarre paintings to make people laugh.

I Love Shrimp Chili by Erina Matsui
Yamamoto Gendai

I Love Shrimp Chili by Erina Matsui.

Food Chain -- Star Wars by Erina Matsui
Keizou Kioku, courtesy of Yamamoto Gendai

Food Chain — Star Wars by Erina Matsui.

Two Days and Two Nights by Erina Matsui
Keizou Kioku, courtesy of Yamamoto Gendai

Two Days and Two Nights by Erina Matsui.

Mahomi Kunikata explains the violence depicted in her art.
Leital Molad

Mahomi Kunikata explains the violence depicted in her art.

    Music Playlist
  1. Super Sucker
    Artist: Toast Girl
    Album: Mini Album
    Label: Philter Records
  2. I'm Bored
    Artist: Toast Girl
    Album: Mini Album
    Label: Philter Records
  3. Go Romantic
    Artist: Toast Girl
    Album: Mini Album
    Label: Philter Records
  4. Hello Afro
    Artist: Toast Girl
    Album: Mini Album
    Label: Philter Records
  5. Kaiju No Ballad
    Artist: Toast Girl
    Album: Spring, River, Flower, Moon, Night
    Label: Philter Records

Contributors:

Lisa Katayama

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