5 Reasons To Visit The Doraemon Exhibition At National Museum

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5 Reasons To Visit The Doraemon Exhibition At National Museum

STORY: Nicholas Yong
05 November 2022
Sebastian Masuda, "Final Weapon" (2017), THE DORAEMON EXHIBITION SINGAPORE 2022 ©Fujiko-Pro
Sebastian Masuda, "Final Weapon" (2017), THE DORAEMON EXHIBITION SINGAPORE 2022 ©Fujiko-Pro | Photo: National Museum of Singapore

There are three things I loved growing up: Pokémon, Gundam robots, and reading comics. And the first comic I ever read was a Doraemon one. I secretly wished I could be like Nobita, and get to mess around with gadgets such as the “anywhere door”, the time machine, or that device that could turn anything into a robot model kit.

So when I heard that Doraemon (a portmanteau of the word "dora neko", which means "stray cat", and "emon", which is said to be a common suffix to male Japanese names in ancient times) would be coming to the National Museum of Singapore, I was happier than Nobita one upping Gian.

And finally seeing the characters from the old comics that I'd read and re-read countless times in this fascinating showcase... wow, what a blast from the past!

The Doraemon Exhibition Singapore 2022, its first global showcase outside of Japan, also hosts quirky reimaginations of Doraemon in the eyes of 28 leading contemporary Japanese artists and arts groups as well as two artworks by Singaporean artists created exclusively for the local leg of this showcase.

Honestly, who needs a reason to visit such an endearing and eye-opening exhibition? But in case you do, here are five:

Gallery shot of MANGA Doraemon Original Drawings Exhibition, MANGA DORAEMON Original Drawings Exhibition ©Fujiko-Pro
Gallery shot of MANGA Doraemon Original Drawings Exhibition, MANGA DORAEMON Original Drawings Exhibition ©Fujiko-Pro | Photo: National Museum of Singapore

1. It’s kawaii AF

Doraemon is a manga by Fujiko F. Fujio (real name Hiroshi Fujimoto), which was first serialised in December 1969 in Japan and ran all the way to 1996 when the author passed away.

The idea for Doraemon came about when three things happened to the artist as he was thinking of ideas for a new manga: 1) he wished for a machine that could come up with ideas; 2) he tripped and fell over his daughter’s toy; and 3) he heard cats fighting in his neighbourhood.

The anime adventures of Doraemon, Nobita, and his friends continue to this day, and the franchise holds the current record for the highest-grossing anime film franchise of all time.

Gallery shot of MANGA Doraemon Original Drawings Exhibition, MANGA DORAEMON Original Drawings Exhibition ©Fujiko-Pro
Gallery shot of MANGA Doraemon Original Drawings Exhibition, MANGA DORAEMON Original Drawings Exhibition ©Fujiko-Pro | Photo: National Museum of Singapore

2. It’s a walk down memory lane

If you’re like me and grew up with the lovable blue robot cat, then the exhibit of original manga drawings will feel super nostalgic. Get reacquainted with all the characters through pages of old comics on loan from the Fujiko F. Fujio Museum in Japan, and see an original print by artist himself.

THE DORAEMON EXHIBITION SINGAPORE 2022 ©Fujiko-Pro
THE DORAEMON EXHIBITION SINGAPORE 2022 ©Fujiko-Pro | Photo: National Museum of Singapore

3. It's a mind-blowing collection of creativity

The exhibition includes some amazing, out-of-this-world reimaginations of Doraemon by artists from the Land of the Rising Sun, such as a 2.6m-tall pink sculpture by Sebastian Masuda made with small toys he obtained from around the world.

Jahan Loh, "Intergalactic Voyagers" and "Teleportation Art_ Series 1 _ 2" (2022), THE DORAEMON EXHIBITION SINGAPORE 2022 ©Fujiko-Pro
Jahan Loh, "Intergalactic Voyagers" and "Teleportation Art_ Series 1 _ 2" (2022), THE DORAEMON EXHIBITION SINGAPORE 2022 ©Fujiko-Pro | Photo: National Museum of Singapore
Leslie Kee, "Imagine" (2022), THE DORAEMON EXHIBITION SINGAPORE 2022 ©Fujiko-Pro
Leslie Kee, "Imagine" (2022), THE DORAEMON EXHIBITION SINGAPORE 2022 ©Fujiko-Pro | Photo: National Museum of Singapore

Singaporean talent is also on display in the form of works by iconic contemporary artist Jahan Loh and internationally renowned photographer Leslie Kee. Jahan created a sculpture of Doraemon with three eyes representing the “past, present and future”, while Leslie’s collage features nine models from different parts of the world.

Akinori Goto, "Chrono-space" (2017), THE DORAEMON EXHIBITION SINGAPORE 2022 ©Fujiko-Pro
Akinori Goto, "Chrono-space" (2017), THE DORAEMON EXHIBITION SINGAPORE 2022 ©Fujiko-Pro | Photo: National Museum of Singapore

4. It’s interactive - there are things to see, think about, touch, eat, and buy!

Look out for exhibits like Ryota Kuwabuko’s "The bell and the sun" (2017) which uses light and shadow to recreate the world of Doraemon using a model train track, or Akinori Goto's "Chrono-space" (2017) that uses a loofa and light to show off the characters from the franchise.

Replica of Fujiko F. Fujio’s study desk, MANGA DORAEMON Original Drawings Exhibition ©Fujiko-Pro
Replica of Fujiko F. Fujio’s study desk, MANGA DORAEMON Original Drawings Exhibition ©Fujiko-Pro | Photo: Nicholas Yong

You can also pretend to be Fujiko F. Fujio and sit at a reproduction of the desk in his workroom where he created many of the Doraemon drawings.

Doraemon-themed Café by Toraya Confectionery,  THE DORAEMON EXHIBITION SINGAPORE 2022 ©Fujiko-Pro
Doraemon-themed Café by Toraya Confectionery, THE DORAEMON EXHIBITION SINGAPORE 2022 ©Fujiko-Pro | Photo: National Museum of Singapore

Take a break between exhibits with a bite of Doraemon’s favourite snack: dorayaki! These are made by Toraya Confectionery, an esteemed wagashi (traditional Japanese confections) maker with a history of close to 500 years. Seriously sedap wei. And of course, got plenty of merch too.

Takashi Murakami, ‘Wouldn_t It Be Nice If We Could Do Such a Thing’ (2017), THE DORAEMON EXHIBITION SINGAPORE 2022 ©Fujiko-Pro
Takashi Murakami, ‘Wouldn_t It Be Nice If We Could Do Such a Thing’ (2017), THE DORAEMON EXHIBITION SINGAPORE 2022 ©Fujiko-Pro | Photo: Nicholas Yong

5. It’s on for three whole months

Swamped with work in the coming weeks? Away for year-end holidays? Eh no worries lah, no need to call boss to take leave. The Doraemon Exhibition Singapore 2022 is on until 5 February 2023, so there will be plenty of opportunities to catch it while it is still here. Tickets are $30 per adult and $25 for those aged 6 to 18. You can book tickets here.

Photo: Nicholas Yong

BONUS REASON: It’s a good chance to rediscover the National Museum of Singapore

Since you’re already here, why not take this chance to explore an iconic Singapore structure? The National Museum of Singapore was first established in 1849, then moved to its current premises on Stamford Road in 1887, making it the oldest museum on our Little Red Dot. It is also one of Singapore’s 75 National Monuments. You can learn more about the history of our National Museum here.

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