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 >> May 17, 2019 (Fri)Honkan

May 17, 2019 (Fri)Honkan

The original Main Gallery (designed by the British architect Josiah Conder) was severely damaged in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. In contrast to western style of the original structure, the design of the present Honkan by Watanabe Jin is the more eastern "Emperor's Crown Style." Construction began in 1932, and the building was opened in 1938.
24 exhibition rooms on two floors provide a thorough introduction into Japanese art: "Highlights of Japanese Art" on the second floor introduces the development of Japanese art from Jomon through to the Edo period in a chronological manner, and genre galleries presenting specific rooms displaying ceramics, swords, lacquerwares, sculptures, modern decorative arts as well as the material culture of Ainu and Ryukyu are located on the first floor.

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Honkan room 13 will be closed for maintenance work from Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - Monday, March 9, 2020.

2nd floor "Highlights of Japanese Art"

The Dawn of Japanese Art: Jomon, Yayoi and Kofun periods
Room 1  January 2, 2019 (Wed) - June 23, 2019 (Sun)

The roots of Japanese aesthetics can be seen in earthenware from the Jomon and Yayoi periods, as well as in dogu (small earthen figurines from Jomon period), dotaku (bronze bell-shaped ritual item from the Yayoi period), haniwa (terracotta figures from the Kofun period) and bronze mirrors (used as symbols of authority in the Yayoi and Kofun periods).

Current exhibit includes:
Haniwa (Terracotta tomb figurine), Dancing person, Excavated at Nohara Tumulus, Kumagaya-shi, Saitama, Kofun period, 6th century
Dotaku (Bell-shaped bronze), Design of Crossed Bands, Excavated at Azamukaiyama, Ibaraki, Hidaka-cho, Wakayama, Yayoi period, 1st-3rd century
Dogu (Clay figurine) with an Owl-shaped Face, Excavated at Takimamuro, Konosu-shi, Saitama, Jomon period, 1000 –400BC
Visored Helmet, With gilt-bronze decoration, Excavated at Nihonmatsuyama Tumulus, Eiheiji-cho, Fukui, Kofun period, 5th century

The Rise of Buddhism: Asuka–Nara period
Room 1  April 23, 2019 (Tue) - June 2, 2019 (Sun)

In the mid-6th century, Buddhism was officially introduced into Japan from the kingdom of Baekje on the southeastern coast of the Korean peninsula. Japanese culture made a remarkable progress with the adoption of Buddhism. This gallery features early Buddhist statues, sutras, reliquaries, and ritual implements from the Asuka and Nara periods.

Current exhibit includes:
Seated Nikko Bosatsu (Suryaprabha), Formerly owned by Kinrinji and Kosanji, Kyoto, Nara period, 8th century (Important Cultural Property)
Shibun kaihon Monastic Code of Conduct with Preface, Nara period, dated 768 (Gift of Mr. Hori Tatsu)
Ritual Objects Used to Consecrate Site of Kohfukuji Temple, Excavated from under altar of Main Hall at Kohfukuji, Nara, Nara period, 8th century (National Treasure)
Ritual Objects Used to Consecrate Site of Kohfukuji TempleEight-lobed Mirror with Design of Flowers and Paired Butterflies, Excavated from under altar of Main Hall at Kohfukuji, Nara, Nara period, 8th century (National Treasure)
Ritual Objects Used to Consecrate Site of Kohfukuji Temple, Excavated from under altar of Main Hall at Kohfukuji, Nara, Nara period, (8th century National Treasure)

Room 2  May 14, 2019 (Tue) - June 2, 2019 (Sun)

This compassionate Buddhist deity, also known as the Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshvara, has the power to find and help everyone in need of salvation. A closer look reveals an eye in the palm of each hand–a visual representation of this miraculous power.
This depiction of Avalokiteshvara also reflects a transitional period in Japanese painting. His full, soft face and the intricate patterns on his robe–created with thinly cut pieces of gold leaf–represent a 12th-century style. In contrast, the immortal sage standing to the right is rendered in thick, clear outlines, which reflect a Chinese-influenced style that became popular in the 13th century. These two contrasting modes of expression exist side by side in this work.

Buddhist Art: Heian–Muromachi period
Room 3  April 23, 2019 (Tue) - June 2, 2019 (Sun)

Buddhist art is one of the major genres that define Japanese art. Many masterworks date from the late Heian period, a time characterized as classical in Japanese art history. After the Kamakura period, Buddhist art further developed in its materials, methods, and styles as Zen schools and other new Buddhist schools emerged, together with the influence from the Chinese arts. This exhibit features artworks from the Heian to Kamakura periods, when Buddhist art most flourished, adding siginificant objects from the Nanbokucho and periods.

Current exhibit includes:
Standing Bishamonten (Vaisravana), By Keisan, Kamakura period, dated 1271
Miroku (Maitreya) Mandala, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Reiunji, Tokyo)
Kokuzo Bosatsu (Akasagarbha), Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Muto Sanji)
Hannya Bosatsu (Prajnaparamita), Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property)
Buddhist Patriarchs, By Gensho (1146-1222), Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property)
Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra, Vol. 600Votive sutra of Abe Komizumaro, By Abe no Komizumaro, Heian period, dated 871 (Gift of Mr. Matsunaga Yasuzaemon)
Record of the Origin of Sarira (Buddhist relics) and Their Blessings, By Daikyu Shonen, Kamakura period, dated 1278 (Important Cultural Property)
Butterfly-shaped Kei Gong, Excavated at Miyabuchi, Matsumoto-shi, Nagano, Heian period, dated 1001 (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Takahashi Tamotsu)
Kei Gong, Lotus pond design, Excavated at Kinpusen, Tenkawa-mura, Yoshino-gun, Nara, Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property)

Courtly Art: Heian–Muromachi period
Room 3  April 23, 2019 (Tue) - June 2, 2019 (Sun)

The courtiers were strongly involved in the arts through the Heian and Muromachi periods, their aesthetic tastes playing a great role in Japanese art history. Literature works such as waka poems and other calligraphy written by courtiers, and e-maki narrative picture scrolls displayed in this room with decorative art objects.

Current exhibit includes:
Detached Segment of Illustrated Scroll of Boy Sudhana's Pilgrimage to Fifty-five Deities: Monju Bosatsu (Manjusri), Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property)
Detached Segment of Illustrated Scroll of Boy Sudhana's Pilgrimage to Fifty-five Deities: Fugen Bosatsu (Samantabhadra), Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property)
Detached Segment of Inga kyo (Illustrated sutra of karma explained through Buddha's life), Nara period, 8th century

Zen and Ink Painting: Kamakura–Muromachi period
Room 3  April 23, 2019 (Tue) - June 2, 2019 (Sun)

This gallery features works by famous artists of the landscape-painting genre, along with famous works of bokuseki (calligraphy by Zen priests).

Current exhibit includes:
Verse of Praise Written on the Anniversary of Nan'in Kokushi's Death, By Seisetsu Shocho, Nanbokucho period, dated 1337
Flowers and Birds, With seal of “Moin”, Muromachi period, 16th century

The Art of Tea Ceremony
Room 4  April 2, 2019 (Tue) - June 16, 2019 (Sun)

This gallery highlights the way of tea through its various art works such as paintings and calligraphy, vases, vessels for kaiseki meals, kettles, tea caddies, and tea bowls.

Current exhibit includes:
Water Jar with Straight Lip, Known as "Shiba no Iori", Shigaraki ware, Hitoeguchi type, Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige)
Bag-shaped Waste Water Jar, Copper alloy with lead and tin (sahari), China, Ming dynasty, 15th–16th century (Gift of Mr. Matsunaga Yasuzaemon)
Flower Vase, Design resembling the Noh play Takasago in underglaze blue, Jingdezhen ware, Kosometsuke type, China, Ming dynasty, 17th century
Poem on Shikishi Paper, Attributed to Ono no Tofu, Heian period, 11th century (Important Cultural Property)
Tea Bowl, Totoya type; Known as "Sawarabi", Korea, Joseon dynasty, 16th–17th century (Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige)

Attire of the Military Elite: Heian–Edo period
Room 5 & 6  March 12, 2019 (Tue) - June 2, 2019 (Sun)

Beginning with the sword which is the most important possession of a samurai, this gallery focuses on arms and armor, saddlery, attire of the warriors as well as their portraits and hand-writings.

Current exhibit includes:
Domaru ArmorBlack leather lacing with white lacing above, Muromachi period, 15th century (Important Cultural Property)
Tanto Sword, By Kanemitsu, Kamakura period, 14th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Oogamiyama Jinja, Tottori)
Aikuchi Style Sword Mounting (For a tanto sword by Kanemitsu), Gold plated, Edo period, 17th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Oogamiyama Jinja, Tottori)
Kosode (Garment with small wrist openings), Cherry blossom design on dark blue heiken plain weave silk (crest: three sectioned floral roundels in circle), Edo period, 17th century (Gift of Mr. Asakura Hanji)

Folding Screens and Sliding Door Paintings: Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period
Room 7  April 23, 2019 (Tue) - May 19, 2019 (Sun)

This gallery is dedicated to the genre of shohei-ga, which includes mural paintings, fusuma paintings and byobu paintings. The room is especially designed for an effective display of grand-scale paintings.

Current exhibit includes:
Scenes from Eiga Monogatari By Tosa Mitsusuke (1675-1710) Edo period, 17th–18th century

The Arts of Daily Life: Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period
Room 8  May 8, 2019 (Wed) - July 28, 2019 (Sun)

The maturing of Japanese culture supported by the military and commoner classes continued throughout the Azuchi-Momoyama and Edo periods. This gallery introduces the craft of interior furnishings and daily utensils that adorned the life of the people during these periods.

Current exhibit includes:
Cabinet, Fishing net and heron design in maki-e lacquer, Edo period, 17th century
Kosode (Garment with small wrist openings)Peony, wisteria, chrysanthemum bouquet, and fret pattern design on white figured satin ground, Passed down by the Shimazu clan, Edo period, 18th century
Hitoe (Summer garment)Stream, reed, and wild goose design on purple [ro] gauze ground, Edo period, 18th century (Gift of Ms. Takagi Kiyo)
Mirror with Handle, Design of man carrying water pails under willow, Edo period, 17th century
Ewer in Shape of Gourd, Grape and squirrel design in overglaze enamel, Imari ware, Kakiemon type, Edo period, 17th century
Tiered Box with Handle, Dragon and wave design in underglaze blue, By Aoki Mokubei, Edo period, 19th century (Important Cultural Property)

Developments in Painting and Calligraphy: Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period
Room 8  May 8, 2019 (Wed) - June 16, 2019 (Sun)

This gallery introduces the dynamic and multi-faceted world of paintings and calligraphy from the Azuchi–Momoyama to the Edo period.

Current exhibit includes:
Shelter from Sudden Rain, By Hanabusa Iccho, Edo period, 18th century
Letter, By Sen no Rikyu, Azuchi–Momoyama period, 16th century (Gift of Mr. Zenda Kiichiro)

Noh and Kabuki: Bugaku Costumes
Room 9  April 23, 2019 (Tue) - June 23, 2019 (Sun)

Bugaku is a ceremonial dance performed at temples, shrines, and the imperial court since ancient times. The art form entered Japan in the late 8th century from the Asian continent and gradually became more Japanese in style. In dances originally transmitted from China, red forms the underlying tone of the dancers’ robes. In dances from Korea, blue/green is dominant. In this exhibition, costumes worn in a Korean-style dance called Nasori and in a Chinese-style dance known as Ryo’o take center stage. The sophisticated colors and designs of these robes provide a glimpse into the refined culture and taste of the imperial court in ancient Japan.

Current exhibit includes:
Ryoto (Bugaku costume) for the Nasori Role, Paulownia arabesque and phoenix roundel design on green ground, Edo period, 19th century
Ryoto (Bugaku costume) for the Ryo'o Role, Cloud and dragon roundel design, Edo period, 19th century

Ukiyo-e and Fashion in the Edo Period: Fashion
Room 10  April 23, 2019 (Tue) - June 23, 2019 (Sun)

Introduces the fashion of the Edo period townspeople. Enjoy comparing with the ukiyo-e works exhibited in the same room.

Current exhibit includes:
Kosode (Garment with small wrist openings), Scoop net design on white figured satin ground, Edo period, 17th century
Ubugi (Garment for newborn baby), Shell design on light brown, plain weave silk ground, Edo period, 17th century
Kosode (Garment with small wrist openings)Clematis, thatched pavilion, and fence design on white figured satin ground, Edo period, 18th century
Inro (Medicine case), Peony and butterfly design in applique, Edo period, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Quincy A. Shaw)

Ukiyo-e and Fashion in the Edo Period: Ukiyo-e
Room 10  May 8, 2019 (Wed) - June 2, 2019 (Sun)

In the 17th century, painters started depicting the lives of commoners in a genre known as ukiyo-e. With the advent of new printing technology, these images began to be reproduced in high numbers, and ukiyo-e gradually spread to all layers of society. The addition of colorists to the publishers’ craftsmen also led to the birth of the color print in the mid-18th century.  From May 8–June 2, 2019, this gallery displays a chronological overview of technical developments in ukiyo-e. The exhibition first introduces works by Iwasa Matabei and Hishikawa Moronobu, who were both key figures in the early development of the genre, and continues with hand-colored monochrome pictures and multi-color prints.

Current exhibit includes:
Scenes from the Yoshiwara Pleasure Quarters, By Hishikawa Moronobu, Edo period, 17th century
Renowned Beauties Likened to the Six Immortal Poets: Ogiya Hanaogi, By Kitagawa Utamaro, Edo period, 18th century
Famous Places of the Eastern Capital: Surugadai, By Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Edo period, 19th century

2nd floor

Netsuke: The Prince Takamado Collection
The Prince Takamado Collection Room  April 16, 2019 (Tue) - July 28, 2019 (Sun)

Strange Things Do Happen!, Kangyoku Tachihara, 1992
Melon, Kinuyo Hariya, 1996
Ground Cherry, Seiho Azuma, 1994
Squirrel, Tadamine Nakagawa, 1989
Hatching Snake, Susan Wraight, 1993


1st floor Special Exhibition

T5, T4, T2 & T1  May 3, 2019 (Fri) - June 2, 2019 (Sun)

This special exhibition is being held as part of the “TSUMUGU PROJECT: Inheriting the Beauty of Japan”, a project that aims to protect and pass on the beauty of Japan that is inherent in the masterpieces of the Imperial Collections and National Treasures. The exhibition brings together superlative artworks by famous Japanese artists, including Sesshu Toyo, Ogata Korin, and Katsushika Hokusai. Furthermore, a masterpiece associated with the Imperial Family, Chinese Lions by Kano Eitoku, and the National Treasure, Cypress Trees, also by Eitoku in his final years, will be exhibited together throughout the entire exhibition period. We invite visitors to enjoy these renowned masterpieces of Japanese art, which stretch from the Heian period to the early modern period.

1st floor

Japanese Sculpture
Room 11  January 22, 2019 (Tue) - June 16, 2019 (Sun)

This gallery introduces the history of sculptural art in Japan through prototypical wood-sculptures featuring examples dating from the Heian and Kamakura periods, the zenith of Japanese sculpture.

Current exhibit includes:
Seated Shinto Deity Hachiman, By Kyokaku, Kamakura period, dated 1326 (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Akana Hachimangu, Shimane, On exhibit through April 14, 2019; On exhibit from May 8, 2019)

Room 12  April 2, 2019 (Tue) - June 16, 2019 (Sun)

Features maki-e works from Heian to Edo period. The exhibit shows the history and beauty of maki-e, a unique lacquerwork method that developed in Japan.

Current exhibition includes:
Writing Box, Mount Hatsuse design in maki-e lacquer, Muromachi - Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century (Important Cultural Property)
Writing Box, Mount Hira design in maki-e lacquer, By Shiomi Masanari, Edo period, 18th century (Important Cultural Property)
Sake Flask, Paulownia, bamboo, and phoenix design in maki-e lacquer, Heian period, 12th century (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Tamukeyama Hachimangu, Nara)
Tebako (Cosmetic box), Sumino-e seascape design in maki-e lacquer, Kamakura period, dated 1228 (Important Cultural Property, Lent by Rin'noji, Tochigi)
Raiban (Abbot's seat), Gentian flower roundel design in maki-e lacquer, Kamakura period, 13th century (Important Cultural Property)

Room 13  April 9, 2019 (Tue) - June 30, 2019 (Sun)

This exhibition provides a historical overview of Japanese metalwork from the Heian (794–1192) to the Edo (1603–1868) period. Objects are displayed by category, such as Buddhist ritual implements, mirrors, tea kettles, objects with designs in cloisonné, decorative fittings, and okimono ornaments. Visitors are invited to view the beauty of metals such as gold, silver, copper, and iron, as well as the shapes they were crafted into, and the designs they were freely embellished with.

Current exhibit includes:
Articulated Figure, Spiny lobster, By Myochin Munekiyo, Edo period, 18th-19th century
Articulated Figure, Hawk, By Myochin Kiyoharu, Edo period, 18th-19th century
Hanging Incense Burner in Shape of Flower Basket, Edo period, 18th century

Japanese Swords
Room 13  May 14, 2019 (Tue) - July 21, 2019 (Sun)

Exhibits selected swords and sword-fittings from the Heian to Edo periods, including the Katana Sword, Known as "Kikko Sadamune" Unsigned, By Sadamune

Current exhibit includes:
Tachi Sword, By Yoshifusa, Kamakura period, 13th century (National Treasure)
Katana Sword, Known as "Kikko Sadamune" Unsigned, By Sadamune, Kamakura–Nanbokucho period, 14th century (National Treasure, Gift of Mr. Watanabe Sei'ichiro)
Sword Guard, Tiger in rain design, By Toshinaga, Edo period, 18th century (Important Cultural Property)

Room 13  March 19, 2019 (Tue) - June 2, 2019 (Sun)

From Japan's first glazed ceramics of the Nara period to the various wares of the late Edo period, the exhibits will introduce the history of Japanese ceramics through masterworks according to time period and production sites.

Current exhibit includes:
Large Jar, Natural glaze, Echizen ware, Muromachi period, 16th century (Lent by the Agency for Cultural Affairs)
Set of Rectangular Mukozuke Dishes, Designs of plum trees, Mino ware, Oribe type, Edo period, 17th century (Private collection)
Flower Vase in the Shape of Flask, Bizen ware, Edo period, 17th century (Gift of Mr. Matsunaga Yasuzaemon)
Dish, Design of karahana flowers in overglaze enamel, Nabeshima ware, Edo period, 17th-18th century
Large Dish, Design of cherry blossoms and figures in overglaze enamel, Imari ware, Edo period, 18th century
Large Dish, Flower-and-bird design in underglaze blue, Imari ware, Edo period, 17th century (Private collection)

Room 14  March 19, 2019 (Tue) - June 23, 2019 (Sun)

This thematic exhibition introduces this unique world of Esoteric Buddhist deities, principally through items from Tokyo National Museum's collection. It can be enjoyed together with the special exhibition National Treasures of To-ji Temple; Kukai and the Sculpture Mandala, held in the Heiseikan from March 26 to June 2.

Records of History
Room 15  April 23, 2019 (Tue) - June 16, 2019 (Sun)

The Tokyo National Museum holds many artworks and other materials that shine light on history, with the foundation of this collection consisting of materials inherited from the shogun’s government of the Edo period (1603–1868). From the time of the Museum’s establishment in 1872, this foundation was supplemented with additional materials collected through exhibitions and surveys of cultural properties. This gallery displays albums of natural science, a discipline that thrived in the Edo period, maps created in the Edo period and the following Meiji era, ink rubbings of calligraphy inscribed into stone and metal, and a variety of other historical materials. In addition, photographs from the late 19th and early 20th century, which show the people and scenery of the day, as well as expositions and cultural properties, are also shown periodically.

Current exhibit includes:
Map of Kyushu (Large-sized map)No. 10, By Ino Tadataka, Edo period, 19th century (Important Cultural Property)
Map of the Sekiyado'dori Takodo RoadMatsudo: Manmanji; Kogane: Hondoji, Nagareyamakashi, Kogane'ichinomaki, Formerly preserved at Asakusa Bunko Library, Edo period, dated 1806  (Important Cultural Property)

Ainu and Ryukyu
Room 16  February 26, 2019 (Tue) - June 2, 2019 (Sun)

The islands of Japan stretch from north to south, encompassing diverse natural environments. These environments have been home to numerous cultures over thousands of years. This gallery presents objects from two cultures that were independent from, but interacted with, the rest of Japan: the Ainu people of the north and the Ryukyu Kingdom of the south.
The Ainu are indigenous people who lived mainly on the island of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost major island. They worshipped and lived close to nature. The current exhibition presents tools the Ainu used for hunting, fishing, and weaving, as well as clothing and other items from daily life.
The Ryukyu Kingdom on the subtropical islands to the south had a culture strongly influenced by trade. This kingdom traded mainly with Japan, China, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Decorative arts from the Ryukyu Kindgom, such as lacquerware and clothing dyed with vibrant patterns, are currently on display.

Current exhibit includes:
Model of a House, Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century, Transferred from the Bureau for the Vienna World Exposition
Backstrap Loom, Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century, Transferred from the Bureau for the Vienna World Exposition
Trap, Primorsky Krai, 19th century, Gift of the Geological Society of Amur River, Russia
Pot, Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century, Gift of the Hokkaido Project Management Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce

Covered Food Box, Design of figures under trees in mother-of-pearl and gold inlay, Okinawa Main Island, Second Sho dynasty, Ryukyu kingdom, 18th century
Octagonal jar, Design of a pavilion and figures in mother-of-pearl inlay, From, Second Sho dynasty, Ryukyu kingdom, 17th century

Conservation and Restoration
Room 17  April 15, 2014 (Tue) - April 5, 2020 (Sun)

>> detailed information
The preservation and conservation of cultural properties are essential aspects of our Museum's mission. From this point of view, this room features object research and examination, environmental maintenance of storage and exhibition rooms, and conservation procedures applied in accordance to materials and conditions of the objects.


Modern Art
Room 18  March 5, 2019 (Tue) - May 26, 2019 (Sun)

This gallery features paintings and sculptures from the Meiji to Taisho period. Since it first opened in 1872 as the exposition venue of the Ministry of Education, Tokyo National Museum has collected important artworks that signify the development of modern Japanese art. The exhibit consists of selected works from the collection.

Current exhibit includes:
Kannon (Avalokitesvara), Riding a Dragon, By Kawanabe Kyosai, Meiji era, 19th century
Maiko (Apprentice geisha) of Kyoto, By Hayami Gyoshu, Dated 1920
A Nude and Lions, By Yoshida Hiroshi, Dated 1909 (Gift of Mrs. Yoshida Fujio)

Education Center: Education Space
Room 19  April 15, 2014 (Tue) - April 5, 2020 (Sun)

Designing at TNM
Exploring The TNM Collection
Making at TNM
Searching for National Treasures at TNM
Touching TNM

Room 19  August 7, 2018 (Tue) - September 16, 2019 (Mon)

Repousse Buddhist Images were produced by placing a thin bronze sheet over a relief, and hammering it into shape.  These were popular between the late 7th and 8th centuries, and were displayed on temple walls, or placed in small shrines for private worship.
These full-scale models show the production process divided into 6stages.  We hope that they enable visitors to learn about how this type of work was created and the materials used.