In ‘Time Bokan – Missing in the Eyes – Red’ (2006) Takashi Murakami, known for using undeniably joyful colours and playful figures to initially mask underlying darkness, places death and destruction on centre stage.

In this arresting lithograph, a cream‐coloured skeleton emerges from the centre, rising up nearly to the top where it meets its smaller version in black. Touching head to head, these skeletons are warped into distilled, smoke‐like shapes.

The present work is derived from Murakami’s ‘Time Bokan’ series from 1993, inspired by the eponymous Japanese anime series from the 1970s. At the end of every episode from the anime series, the villain disappeared into a cloud and reappeared once more at the beginning of the next. Murakami builds on this cloud image to imply evil and deathly destruction. In effect, the skeletal forms in the present work recall the infamous atomic clouds that once towered over Japan, its deadliness emphasised by the blood‐coloured background.

‘Time Bokan – Missing in the Eyes – Red’ is among Murakami’s most overtly emotionally charged works. In placing atomic destruction at its centre, this present work nods to the inception of the new Japanese psyche which is at the centre of Murakami’s signature Superflat theory.


50 x 50 cm

Publication Year



Offset lithograph



Edition Size



Signed, dated and numbered on the front


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