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Tokyo lesbian love anime art/photography exhibition cancelled, thighs suspected as sticking point

Cancellation of yuri event comes mere days before scheduled opening in one of Tokyo’s major anime fan neighborhoods.

Anyone who was planning to go to the opening of Yuri Exhibition 2018 in Tokyo this coming Saturday now needs to make new plans for the weekend. The organizers of the event have announced that the gathering of fans and creators of lesbian romance anime and manga (called “yuri”) has been cancelled.

The exhibition was scheduled to be held in the event space of department store Marui’s branch in the Ikebukuro neighborhood, which in recent years has joined Akihabara and Nakano as one of the city’s major centers of otaku culture. The annual Yuri Exhibition (or Yuri-ten, in Japanese) began in 2016, and this year’s Tokyo iteration was slated to run from March 17 to March 25.

On the event’s official website, the cancellation notice vaguely defines the reason as:

“The situation has become such that it would be difficult for all creators who originally intended to participate to display and sell their works at the event, so we have decided to cancel holding Yuri Exhibition at Marui Ikebukuro.”

While the explanation is light on details, some noticed that this isn’t the only Marui Ikebukuro event to be scrapped this month. On March 2, the World of Thigh Photography exhibition of the works of prolific thigh photographer Yuria, which was scheduled to take place at the department store from March 9 to 26, was also suddenly cancelled, again with organizers citing nebulous “circumstances.”

▼ Some of Yuria’s photography

Yuria was also listed as an exhibitor for Yuri Exhibition 2018, and so it’s highly probable that when the cancellation notice is talking about participants for whom it would be “difficult…to display and sell their works,” it’s talking about Yuria, though it’s possible there could have been an issue with the wares from of one or more of the 29 other listed exhibitions listed on the Yuri Exhibition website.

▼ The sample image for Yuria (shown on the right) from Yuri Exhibition’s website

Marui has a fairly young clientele, so it’s somewhat surprising for them to be assumedly pressuring Yuri Exhibition to tone down its content. Perhaps the deciding factor is that unlike the illustrated depictions of lesbian love and lust created by the majority of Yuri Exhibition’s artists, Yuria’s photography features real-life models, as do three of the other listed exhibitors: Albina Albina, SAKUnoTORIDORI, and Minori Takahashi.

▼ Albina Albina


While Japan is famously accepting regarding illustrated content, real-life mediums such as photography aren’t always allowed the same leniency. And while Yuria’s work has been the subject of multiple art exhibitions in the past, they’ve been held at smaller venues, often specialized galleries. In contrast, Marui is a mainstream department store, and no doubt feels it has to consider how shoppers with no connection to or interest in the yuri genre will react to, for example, images such as Yuria’s bondage-themed schoolgirl thigh photo seen above,

The event is now hoping to reschedule at a different date and a different venue for Tokyo, though that may or may not prove possible. Yuri fans will be happy to know, however, that Yuri Exhibition is still scheduled to take place in Osaka between March 31 and April 8 at the Namba Parks complex, and also in mid-April at a yet-to-be-determined location in Fukuoka (likely not the city’s Marui branch). And even if you can’t make it to either of those, there’s still plenty of Yuri Exhibition merchandise for sale here through the online shop of event partner Village Vanguard.

Related: Yuri Exhibition
Sources: Yuri Exhibition, Otakomu, Today’s Gallery Studio, Hachima Kiko, Kyodo
Top image: Yuri Exhibition
Insert images: Yuri Exhibition (1, 2, 3, 4)

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