I am FUJIWARA Makoto, Executive Director of the Tokyo National Museum.
Tokyo National Museum was founded as a museum operated by the Ministry of Education, following an exposition held at the Taiseiden Hall of the former Yushima Confucian Shrine. Last year the Museum celebrated a big milestone, its 150th anniversary. With the concept, “A new step forward, together with you,” we delivered a range of exhibitions and events, including the special exhibition Tokyo National Museum: Its History and National Treasures, as part of our 150th anniversary project.
Before the pandemic, the number of tourists coming to Japan hit a record high of 31,880,000. Under the slogan, “If you come to Japan, don’t miss the Tokyo National Museum,” the Museum increased multilingual signs and gallery labels in an effort to make our exhibitions more accessible to international visitors. Furthermore, the Museum endeavored to be a cultural hub where its visitors could view new works of art every time they visited. We did this by carefully planning our regular exhibitions, which undergo over 300 rotations per year, while showcasing exciting special exhibitions.
The situation suddenly soured in 2020 due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus. During the pandemic, there were times when we had to take extraordinary measures to partially suspend our museum operations, including temporary closures, limiting the number of visitors, and canceling extended opening hours. These were difficult times, when our efforts to satisfy our visitors were greatly impaired.
With the Museum’s 150th anniversary project completed and the pandemic coming under control, however, we have begun to feel that things are returning to normal. Visitor numbers are recovering fast, and a range of events have been resumed.
Please keep an eye out for the Tokyo National Museum’s next history-making endeavors following the 150th anniversary year.
Tokyo National Museum