The name Tiger | Tanuki reflects the spirit of Japan and the foundation of this company. The tiger (Jap. tora), although not native to Japan, plays a significant role in Japanese art, signifying the virtue of courage as well as harmony of the opposites. Being introduced to Japan through Buddhism, the tiger is in some instances seen as the emblem of the West and in this context points to the cultural exchange between East and West. The tanuki, one the other hand, is found in Japanese mythology and with its supernatural powers has a more humorous and gentle side to it (although it often acts mischievously). A racoon-like dog with a long fuzzy tail, the tanuki is characterised by its large scrotum with which it can drape itself or use as an umbrella on rainy days among other things. The tanuki represents our informal and creative approach.
Tiger | Tanuki was founded in 2014 by Danish art historian Malene Wagner who specialises in Japanese art and japonisme. The aim is to promote Japanese art and culture via an informal aesthetic and to inspire art and design enthusiasts and collectors across generations.
Malene has extensive experience from working in the international museum, auction and art publishing world.
Her publications include Apollo Magazine, Kinfolk, Japanomania in the Nordic Countries, Journal of Japonisme and Impressions of the East. Malene also writes for the British Japan Society and Tokyo Weekender Magazine. Furthermore, she curates exhibitions in Denmark and the UK and gives talks on Japanese art and culture in both academic as well as commercial contexts.
Her first experience of Japanese culture was as a two-year-old when her parents brought her and older siblings to East Asia. This led to her innate love for the art and culture of Japan.
In 2017, Malene was invited to meet then Crown Prince Naruhito at the Japanese Embassy in Denmark as an acknowledgement of her work in promoting Japanese art in Denmark.