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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.

Second half of the 18th century

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.

Salmon rice onigiri, matcha tea and a sesame mochi. Miam !