Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

Monthly Update sign up
Mailing List signup

1 / Converging Cultures

Miss ko2 (Project ko2)
Miss ko2 (Project ko2)
Artist / Origin Takashi Murakami (Japanese, b. 1962)
Region: East Asia
Date 1997
Material Oil, acrylic, fiberglass, and iron
Medium: Sculpture
Dimensions H: 100 in. (254 cm.), W: 46 in. (117 cm.), D: 36 in. (91.5 am.)
Credit © 1997 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

expert perspective

Melissa ChiuMuseum Director and Vice President for Global Art Programs, Asia Society

Additional Resources

Cruz, Amanda, Dana Friis-Hansen, and Midori Matsui. Takashi Murakami: The Meaning of the Nonsense of the Meaning. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2000.

Fleming, Jeff, et al. My Reality: Contemporary Art and the Culture of Japanese Animation. New York: Independent Curators International, 2001.

MacWilliams, Mark W., ed. Japanese Visual Culture: Explorations in the World of Manga and Anime. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2008.

Napier, Susan J. From Impressionism to Anime: Japan as Fantasy and Fan Cult in the Mind of the West. New York: Plagrave Macmillan, 2007.

Schimmel, Paul, Lisa Gabrielle Mark, and Mika Yositake, eds. © Murakami. New York: Rizzoli in association with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., 2007.

Miss ko2 (Project ko2)

» Takashi Murakami (Japanese, b. 1962)

Along with the Mickey Mouse-like Mr. DOB, Miss ko2 is one of Takashi Murakami’s most recognized characters.

The sculpture, the artist’s first, demonstrates both an interest in contemporary Japanese aesthetics and a fascination with Western ideals of beauty. Miss ko2 is a big-breasted, long-legged, blue-eyed blond. The voluptuous waitress is a life-size version of the kinds of figurines collected by otaku, a subculture obsessed with the sci-fi and fantasy worlds of anime (animation), manga (comic books), and video games. The blatant sexuality exuded by the figure is also associated with these forms of popular youth culture in Japan.

Although trained in the traditional Japanese art of nihonga, Murakami takes his inspiration from a wide variety of sources both Eastern and Western. In his installations, paintings, videos, and sculptures, Murakami blurs the line between “high” and “low” art, traditional and popular culture. His works draw on everything from anime and manga to Buddhist forms and iconography to Abstract Expressionism and Pop art. Even his approach to art-making might be described as hybrid. Similar to Andy Warhol’s Factory in some ways, Murakami’s Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., with two locations—the Hiropon Factory outside of Tokyo and a New York studio—is the center of his art production. Murakami’s approach to managing the corporation has been influenced by modern American business models, but at the same time, employs the organizational structure of traditional Japanese art guilds and animation studios. With business smarts and marketing savvy, Murakami runs his company with great efficiency and has been tremendously successful at his own self-promotion. Images in his signature style are reproduced in mass quantity on watches, t-shirts, purses, and other consumer goods.

next artwork

© Annenberg Foundation 2017. All rights reserved. Legal Policy