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Extensive exhibition of shojo (girls) manga features art from the 1950s to the present at Vassar’s Palmer Gallery and Dutchess Community College, opening October 27, 2014

World of Shojo Manga! Mirrors of Girls’ Desires is an extensive exhibition that explores the history of shojo manga, featuring more than 60 works dating from the 1950s to the present.

This show will be on view October 27-November 21 at two locations in Poughkeepsie: the Palmer Gallery in Main Building at Vassar College; and the Mildred I. Washington Gallery at Dutchess Community College. This exhibition is free and open to the public. There will be opening receptions and curator’s lectures at each location (details at bottom).

World of Shojo Manga! focuses on the phenomenon of women’s changing roles in Japanese society. Traditionally, the predominant theme of shojo (girls) manga has been love, where shonen (boys) manga deals with fighting. But this exhibition brings to light a more complicated set of themes and shows that by examining the history of shojo manga one can also trace the history of Japanese women. Early on, in the post World War II era, shojo manga centered on overcoming obstacles to find love, but with the advent of social change through the 1970s, the content evolved to include more diverse subjects such as womanhood, family, gender issues and careers. The audience also expanded: shojo manga is now no longer only read by girls and young adults, but also by adult women.

Curated by Masami Toku, professor of art education at California State University in Chico, this show features the work of 12 artists. “The goal of this exhibition is to help audiences understand the value of Japanese pop culture by focusing on shojo manga as a major genre of Japanese manga and also to introduce the power of Japanese visual pop culture that influences young minds and society worldwide,” says Toku. World of Shojo Manga! is an updated version of Toku’s original 2005 exhibition, which was shown in nine North American venues; this exhibition was shown in Arizona in 2013.

Hiromi Tsuchiya Dollase, associate professor of Japanese at Vassar College, was instrumental in bringing the exhibition to the Hudson Valley.  She teaches a course in Japanese popular culture that naturally includes a focus on manga. “Shojo manga is very special,” says Dollase. ”We may think of comics as being for children, but manga was a way for these artists to express a different path for girls and women, one not just based on the traditions of being a wife and mother,” she explains. “The art is beautiful but there are stories here. And, yes, they are fantasy stories, but they have real depth.”

This exhibition is generously supported by a grant from the Japan Foundation of New York.


Opening Reception – Dutchess Community College
Mildred I. Washington Art Gallery
Wednesday, October 29, 5:00pm

Opening Reception – Vassar College
James W. Palmer Gallery
Thursday, October 30, 5:00pm

Curator’s Lecture – Vassar College
Wednesday, November 12, 5:00pm Taylor Hall, room 203

This lecture by the exhibition’s curator, Masami Toku, focuses on shojo manga's history and development. Toku is a professor of art education at California State University, Chico, with special focus on cross-cultural studies of children's artistic development, the development of visual popular culture, and children's visual literacy. She received the 2008 United States Society for Education (USSEA) International Ziegfeld Award for her international work.

About the Palmer Gallery at Vassar College
The Palmer Gallery is open from 11 am-6 pm daily, but calling ahead to the Office of Campus Activities is recommended.

Vassar College strives to make its events, performances, and facilities accessible to all. Individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations must contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays-Fridays, at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space/and or assistance may not be available. For detailed information about accessibility to specific campus facilities, search for “campus accessibility information” on the Vassar homepage (

Directions to the Vassar campus, located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, are available at

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

About the Mildred I. Washington Gallery at Dutchess Community College
The Mildred I. Washington Art Gallery is located at the north end of campus in the Allyn J. Washington Center for Science and Art. Each year, the Gallery exhibits work from regional, national, and international artists. Each semester, the Gallery houses a display of outstanding student work and a show of faculty work.

The Gallery is open to the public. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 10:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m., Friday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Visitors should enter the campus through Gate 2 on Cottage Street and may park in D or C lots. (Use 91 Cottage St., Poughkeepsie, NY for GPS address.) For directions, visit Handicapped accessible parking is available at the top of the hill right outside the Gallery entrance.

Posted by Office of Communications Tuesday, September 23, 2014