The Maison de la culture du Japon à Paris had an exhibition that was ending soon, so I went to see it on Thursday. It proved to be a lot of fun!
Ôtsu turns out to be a town near Kyoto on the famous Tôkaidô road from Edo (now Tokyo). From the early 17th century through the mid-19th century the town specialized in selling small humorous images to travelers. Over the centuries Ôtsu developed a suite of standardized characters, who became known throughout Japan, and have found there way into Ukiyo-e prints and other fine art as well as the popular imagination.
The most typical character is a demon dressed as a monk, invoking the Buddah Amida.
Also common are the god of longevity and the god of luck.
Finally, here are a couple of images of the whole rogues gallery.
I see links between these characters and contemporary manga, as well as with some of the outsider art I saw earlier in the week.
After the gallery, I had a delicious light lunch at the Japanese café in the museum.