Yoshihiro Togashi exhibition dives into 35 years of manga magnificence

An illustration of “Hunter x Hunter” on the manga’s title page in WJ 1999 NO. 25

A large-scale exhibition of works by popular manga artist Yoshihiro Togashi is being held at the Mori Arts Center Gallery in Tokyo’s Minato Ward through Jan. 9 next year. Characterized by vibrant characters derived from the author’s unique worldview and meticulously crafted storylines, Togashi’s work has continued to attract many fans over the years.

“Exhibition: Togashi Yoshihiro — Puzzle —” allows visitors to explore the mangaka’s 35-year career and his one-of-a-kind talent through more than 350 items on display, including original drawings and materials.

The exhibition focuses on Togashi’s three megahits: “YuYu Hakusho,” “Level E” and “Hunter x Hunter.”

Hailing from Yamagata Prefecture, Togashi debuted in 1987. He shot to fame when the manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump started running his series “YuYu Hakusho” in 1990.

©Yoshihiro Togashi 1990-1994
An illustration of “YuYu Hakusho” on the manga’s title page in WJ 1992 NO. 1, 2

Fans flocked to the work for its depictions of the fierce battles between the spirit detective protagonist, Yusuke Urameshi, and major antagonists such as the Toguro brothers and Sensui, in addition to those of shadowy and cool characters who become Yusuke’s companions, including Hiei and Kurama.

Range of expression

Togashi’s extensive range of expression and creativity was further demonstrated in “Level E,” which was serialized from 1995. In the manga, he depicted the alien genius, Prince Baka, causing annoying disturbances. Togashi even changed his drawing style to make it more realistic.

©Yoshihiro Togashi 1995-1997
An illustration of “Level E” on the manga’s title page in WJ 1996 NO. 23

“Hunter x Hunter,” still going strong since being serialized in 1998, is arguably the most famous manga created by Togashi.

While sticking to a classic storyline format of manga for boys, following the protagonist Gon as he grows up to be a hunter, Togashi also created the “Nen ability” with its complex rules as a weapon for Gon and his friends. At the same time, he demonstrated his creativity by introducing mental games to supernatural battles, which was groundbreaking in the world of battle manga.

It also features an epic ensemble of fascinating characters woven throughout, such as Killua, Kurapika and Leorio, all of whom are Gon’s buddies, and antagonists such as Hyskoa and Quwrof.

Although the stories are cruel at times, such features of Togashi’s manga as always developing beyond readers’ expectations, multi-layered human drama and words that resonate with readers have remained second to none for more than 20 years.

Illustrations dedicated to the exhibition by other popular mangaka — including “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” author Koyoharu Gotoge, “Jujutsu Kaisen” author Gege Akutami and “Tokyo Ghoul” author Sui Ishida — demonstrate how Togashi has inspired great respect from up-and-coming manga artists.

Visitors will have a chance to glimpse the secrets of why Togashi has been such an inspiration.

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The audio guide for the exhibition is navigated by TV personality Bakarhythm and the description of the items on display is narrated by voice actor Daisuke Namikawa. Here two share what drew them into the Togashi universe.

Power of draft manuscripts


Ever since I got hooked on “Hunter x Hunter” after reading the first volume at a manga cafe, I have read the entire series over and over again. I’m most attracted by the elaborate and creative rules of the games in the story. They are so profound that I still can’t fully understand them.

My favorite scene of the manga is when Meeleem, the king of the ants, and Komugi play a game. There is nothing but conversation between them depicted against pitch-black backgrounds, but readers can understand that they are filled with love. That’s why it’s a great scene.

I’m happy to be the navigator for the audio guide, but I was nervous at the same time because I felt pressure to satisfy Togashi’s fans.

The highlight of the exhibition is the draft manuscripts on display. I want people to see the power within them, which is different from printed illustrations.

— Bakarhythm

Immersed in drawings

Daisuke Namikawa

I have been reading Jump magazine since I was a child and loved to contemplate the complex settings of Togashi’s manga. Playing the roles of quirky characters Hyskoa in “Hunter x Hunter,” and Prince Baka in the “Level E” animation helped me broaden my range of expression. Hearts, diamonds and other symbols that are drawn at the end of Hyskoa’s remarks are not actually expressed vocally in the animation. However, such simple symbols make his lines standout in a striking way.

Togashi’s drawings have the feel of paintings. It is amazing to see how he applies two different styles of drawing — those typically seen in Jump as well as realistic manga — to his manga. Adding just one frame that has a touch of realism can express the hidden personalities of the characters and immediately add depth to the story.

I want to get a close look at how Togashi expresses sound effects and the concentrated lines in his drawings and become immersed in the overwhelming power of his drawings.

— Daisuke Namikawa

Exhibition information

“Exhibition: Togashi Yoshihiro — Puzzle —” runs through Jan. 9 at the Mori Arts Center Gallery in the Roppongi district of Minato Ward, Tokyo, open daily.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Last admission 7:30 p.m.)

Admission: ¥2,000 for adults, ¥1,500 for junior high and high school students, ¥1,000 for children aged 4 or older and elementary school students.

Visitors must reserve a specific date and time of entry. For more information on the exhibition and how to purchase tickets, visit the official website at https://togashi-ten.com/. Also check the official Twitter account dedicated to the exhibition.

Organizer: “Exhibition: Togashi Yoshihiro — Puzzle —” Production Committee (The Yomiuri Shimbun and others)

Planning cooperation: Weekly Shonen Jump Editorial Department

Sponsors: Kyodo Printing Co. / eplus Inc.