If you're visiting Tokyo this January and your interests fall somewhere within the Venn diagram of anime, manga, Japanese subculture and art, then there's a very special exhibition opening today which may interest you: the Hyokkame Solo Exhibition: "Kawaii x Kigmask."

Kigurumi and Doll-Type Kigurumi

If you don't already know about it, kigurumi means costumed character and covers everything from yurukyara mascots to theme park animal characters to anime character kigurumi who perform for children in theme park shows. Within this large category, "doll type kigurumi" is a subgenre which has been growing in recent years. Although the masks often share characteristics specific to anime characters such as large eyes, etc. and some people call them animegao (anime face) kigurumi, these kigurumi enthusiasts combine masks, skin-tone full-body tights and fashion of their choosing to create their own unique kigurumi personas. In this sense, it is distinct from cosplay which tries to recreate an existing anime character.


Hyokkame (a portmanteau of Hyottoko, a comic mask worn at Japanese festivals, and okame, meaning "mask") is an artistic kigurumi mask production unit which began in Tokyo in 2015. Through their high-quality masks which combine contemporary fashion trends and kawaii, they are updating Japanese mask culture.

Hyokkame masks are enjoyed by both men and, increasingly, by women, appreciated for their kawaii and fashionable aspects, and some customers even display them as art in their homes. Hyokkame already has a sizable fanbase, mostly in Japan, but with a small but growing number of foreign customers as well. Hyokkame also has a line of realistic doll-type masks called Dappigoro.

Hyokkame Solo Exhibition: Kawaii x Kigmask

The exhibition will display a selection of Hyokkame masks, such as these:

Photo by © grape Japan

One of their recent masks has blue skin:

Photo by © grape Japan

Hyokkame masks have several features which distinguish them from other kigurumi mask makers in terms of design, customization and ease of wear. To begin with, they are a bit larger, which makes them easier for larger heads to wear. The eye area, unlike some other masks, are not flat designs made of resin or painted on, but are slightly indented and contoured, while the eye parts are replaceable for customization. The wigs can also be detached with velcro and can be refitted on other masks, and the interior padding can also be removed and washed.

Photo by © grape Japan

When you come to exhibition, you'll meet Shaula, one of the mask designs and a character with her own background story. (Her mask isn't for sale). She'll be at her workshop, creating masks, but she'll be happy to interact with visitors, and pose for photos (either with your own camera, as a selfie, or with a cheki polaroid camera which staff will take for you).

Photo by © grape Japan

As a first, Hyokkame is also exhibiting their eye collection as framed objects, showing off the eye designs along with suggestions for matching tights designs.

Photo by © grape Japan

Finally, you'll also be able to pick up some Hyokkame goods:

Photo by © grape Japan

Exhibition Details

  • Name: Hyokkame Solo Exhibition: Kawaii x Kigmask
  • Duration: January 11th (Sat.) to 26th (Sun.)
  • Hours: 13:00 to 20:00 (closed Mondays)
  • Place: Mograg Gallery
  • Address (JP): 〒111-0041東京都台東区元浅草1-5-1
  • Addres (EN): 1-5-1 Moto-Asakusa, Taito City, Tokyo 111-0041
  • Admission: Free
  • Tel: 03-5830-7646
  • Opening Party: January 11th (Sat) 18:00 to 21:00 (DJ: em (Glocal Pussys / Marginal Disko))

Talk: Hyokkame and Shuhei Ookawara

On January 17th (Fri.), from 6 PM to 9 PM, there will be a talk by Shuhei Ookawara 大川原脩平 Butoh performer and owner of Maskshop Omote, on masks and the possibilities for future developments in mask culture. (This talk will be in Japanese). Admission is 1,200 JPY (w/ 1 drink) and attendance is limited to 20, so please email info@mograg.com with your name and contact information if you want to attend.

TV apperance

For those who have access to Japanese TV, the exhibition will be featured on the following show:

  • January 16th 23:00 to 23:40
  • Fuji TV
  • 「アウトデラックス」OutxDeluxe (guest: model Kiko Mizuhara)

Hyokkame Links

If you're interested in learning more about Hyokkame and/or purchasing their products, please visit one of the following links:

By - Ben K.