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140th Anniversary Thematic Exhibitions: The Variety and Appeal of the Tokugawa Collection of Books

  • Image of "Album of Citrus Fruits, By Hattori Sessai, Meiji period, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Muneyoshi)"

    Album of Citrus Fruits, By Hattori Sessai, Meiji period, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Muneyoshi)

    Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 16
    September 11, 2012 (Tue) - November 4, 2012 (Sun)

    The Tokyo National Museum collection includes approximately 18,000 Japanese books, of which about 12,000 were donated to the museum in 1943 by Mr. Tokugawa Muneyoshi (the twelfth head of the Hitotsubashi Tokugawa family). This donation is known as the Tokugawa Collection of Books. Most of these books were published or transcribed during the Edo period (1603-1868) and Meiji era (1868-1912), on subjects including art, religion, military arts, education, customs, and geography.

    Since 2009, museum staff have been updating the basic information on every item in the museum collection. As part of this, a survey of the Tokugawa Collection of Books has revealed the ways of conveying information in Japan in the early modern era and earlier. Before people were able to transfer information simply with photographs and moving images, the spread of information was mainly through printed materials. The survey has shown that people of the early modern era tried to use many ingenious methods to convey knowledge and skills. Methods include books with pages of small, densely-packed characters; carefully-drawn illustrations of plants and wildlife; and three-dimensional paper models of objects.

    This thematic exhibition displays intriguing examples from the Tokugawa Collection of Books, in order to introduce its wide-ranging content and variety of forms. We hope visitors experience the appeal of Edo-period and Meiji-era Japanese books, as exemplified by this collection.

Major works in this exhibition
* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
Certificate of initiation from Jitsujo to his disciple Ryoyu, Kamakura period, dated 1318 (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Muneyoshi)
Miniature Models of Inuoumono (Dog chasing) of the Takeda School, Edo period, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Muneyoshi)
Kundaikan Sochoki (Records of Tea Ceremonies and Related Tea Utensils), Edo period, 17th century (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Muneyoshi)

Related Events

September 15, 2012 (Sat) - September 30, 2012 (Sun)   9:30 - 17:00 (Last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Open until 22:00 on September 21 (Sat).
Open until 18:00 on Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays.