chojinI stopped by one of my favorite DAIKANYAMA shops yesterday to check out the Abstract Comedy exhibition going on which features work by local underground manga illustrators who are big in the `zine scene.

This shop is extremely interesting because with the candy rings, super bouncy ball bib necklaces and 80s prom dresses it is decidedly bubbly and kawaii…but what makes it interesting is that is has *no* relation to the Harajuku Kawaii scene and it developed it’s taste completely independent of that culture. However, there are some interesting parallels, and it hints as to how it became part of the cutesy trend while not *acutally* being a part of it. 



abstract comedy 

barbie bag

vintage candy

Owner Haruko Okano is the wizard behind the curtain here, and it’s her unique eye and fascinations with cute culture that have spurred the Harcoza take on kawaii. While Harajuku tends to be obsessed with the American and European megastars of the 80s and 90s like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, Haruko is an equal oppotunity obsessee for Japanese idols of this time like Hikaru Genji. You won’t find old Wham band t-shirts or my little ponies here, but you might find old Japanese idol casette tapes and retro Japanese candy like Pocky instead. The store has been like this since even before the current Kawaii boom even got started, and it will probably be like this far into it’s future as well.

Haruko even designs for the Harcoza brand and the dresses are completely reminiscent of nostalgic idol stage dresses:

オーナーの岡野 ハルコさんはこのきらびやかなカーテンを取り仕切るウィザード。彼女の世界感のもと集められたもの達によって、このHarcoza=可愛いという図式は成立している。ではこのHarcoza可愛いとはどんなものなのか。先ほど出した原宿の可愛い文化は、マドンナやシンディローパーなど80年代90年代のアメリカやヨーロッパのスーパースターに夢中になりがちなのに対しHarcozaのハルコさんがその時夢中だったのは日本のアイドル光Genji。つまりWhamやマイリトルポニーのアイテムでは無く、昔の日本のアイドルのカセットテープや昔懐かしのお菓子(ポッキーとか)。もっと言えば、このショップのこの世界感は今流行の原宿可愛いスタイルが恥あるずっと前から貫かれているし今後もずっと変わることはないのだ。


 prism dress

prom dress

donut dress

So downstairs Haruko curated a little exhibit that features underground illustrators mostly from the `zine scene like Fancomi as well as legendary manga artist Yuichi Yokoyama’s prints.

A few of the zines are on sale, some are by Fancomi and there are three volumes from “Chojin” (Bird Person), which is a collection of manga by different illustrators. They are very unique, to say the least. A few examples from the first volume that I picked up:


そしてこのお店の地下のスペースを使って今回、同人誌を多く手がけるFancomiや伝説の漫画家ヨコヤマ ユウイチさんの作品の展示を行っているのだ。



You’ll notice the zines are bilingual…I believe they are for sale in in London,Hamburg, Berlin and Copenhagen as well as Japan.




art book

car toy


I loved these pieces by Yuichi Yokoyama



About the exhibit: 

Over the years, themes and media have diversified in the manga world. As words in poetry allows writers and readers to have their own understanding of its story, some manga create such a beautiful art style on their own that stands to be more than just manga.

Charles Burns, whose roots of his work is from the alternative comics scene, created the illustration art work for Iggy Pops’ album cover. Yuichi Yokoyama shows how to actually draw the concept of “time” into his manga work. There are many other manga artists who create their work by using silk screens to make independent magazines (zines).

CHOJIN CLUB is a motley crew of illustrators that create digital comics to introduce their manga work, and even released a new application for the iPhone especially for this exhibition.

The artists at “Abstract Comedy” include: Shiriagari Kotobuki, Yuichi Yokoyama, Akira Nishitake, Matt Brickman, Charles Burns, Takehiro





今回の展示に合わせて、デジタルコミックに移行しつつあるCHOJIN CLUBの新作iphoneアプリコミックを公開します。

出品作家 しりあがり寿 / 横山裕一 / 西武アキラ / マット・ブリックマン /チャールズ・バーンズ

飯川雄大 / C.F ./ fancomi / tommi musturi / and more!!





☆ Talk Show
Ami Yoshida who is a writer and a musician, and Akira Nishitake who is editor of CHOJIN CLUB and curated this “Abstract Comedy” exhibition will talk about the recent movement of
independent comics.

Date : July 21st (Saturday) 18:00~20:00
Free Entrance


文筆家、音楽家としてご活躍されかつカンガにもお詳しい吉田アミさんとCHOJIN CLUBの編集長で今回の「Abstract Comedy」の企画にも携わっている西武アキラさんをお招きして、おもに海外コミックやインディペンデントコミックについて対談していただきます。


「Abstract Comedy」アブストラクト・コメディー



〒150-0021 渋谷区恵比寿西2-15-9 1F