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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


3 October 2013 – 5 January 2014
Parental guidance advised

Supported by Shunga in Japan LLP

Part of Japan400

Recommend this exhibition

Discover Japanese prints, paintings and drawings like no other.

‘the most explicit and brilliant pictures of pleasure ever produced’  The Independent


‘splendid’ ★ ★ ★ ★ Guardian
‘revelatory’ ★ ★ ★ ★ The Times


Ticket information

Adults £7, Members free

Book online, at the Ticket Desk or on
+44 (0)20 7323 8181

More on booking tickets 


Open daily 10.00–17.30,
Fridays until 20.30

Last entry 80 minutes before closing

Friday lates    Access 

Getting here

Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG

More on visiting the exhibition 


Exhibition product range

Browse a selection of products inspired by the exhibition.

Exhibition catalogue 
See all products 


Discover Japanese art like no other

Explicit and beautifully detailed, these works, produced between 1600 and 1900, have continued to influence manga, anime and Japanese tattoo art. The exhibition sheds new light on this taboo art form within Japanese social and cultural history. Parental guidance advised for visitors under 16.

Images: Torii Kiyonaga, detail taken from Sode no maki (Handscroll for the Sleeve, c.1785
Torii Kiyonobu, detail taken from untitled erotic pictures, c.1704-11, International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto
Kitagawa Utamaro, detail taken from Utamakura (Poem of the Pillow), 1788
Katsukawa Shuncho, Koshoku zue juni ko (Erotic Pictures for the Twelve Months) International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto