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Kōgei 2020 – The Art of Crafting Beauty from Nature

Kōgei 2020 – The Art of Crafting Beauty from Nature / Hyokeikan    September 21, 2020 (Mon) - November 15, 2020 (Sun)

Hexagonal covered box with oak leaf design in maki-e and mother-of-pearl inlay, Murose Kazumi, 2014 (Private collection)

Timed-entry tickets (timed tickets)
All tickets will be timed-entry tickets (timed tickets) and must be purchased in advance online. Museum members and other visitors eligible for free admission must also make advance reservations online.

With regard to the updated ticketing and entry procedures for the Special Exhibition “Kōgei 2020 – The Art of Crafting Beauty from Nature,” please check its official exhibition website.

  • Special Exhibition &
    Regular exhibitions
    (timed tickets)

Japan’s unique traditional craft arts, or kōgei, grew out of the close-knit spiritual sensibility and distinctive outlook on the living world born of existence in harmony with nature. One significant factor in this is the perspective on nature instilled throughout the long development of Japan’s history and culture by the multiplicity of the country’s natural environment, from the endlessly diverse landscape to the shifting seasons.
This exhibition brings together examples of kōgei that showcase Japan’s artistic culture to the world, with 82 stunning modern pieces created by 82 artists freely expressing their creative vision through a range of artistic techniques. Though based in long tradition, these works that reflect the connections between nature and beauty of form speak to the affection and awe in which the natural world is held by the Japanese people, while providing an expression of fresh perspectives on nature.


Highlights of the Exhibition

General Information

List of Works
PDF (582KB)


Highlights of the Exhibition


Kōgei, humanity and nature in Japan
This exhibition introduces the work of a multi-generational selection of artists creating Japanese-style vessels, and modern kōgei practitioners shaping the future of fine arts. The exhibition also explores the core Japan Cultural Expo theme of Humanity and Nature in Japan through the medium of traditional kōgei craft art.



Section 1 Gold Gleams with Eternal Light / Silver Gleams with Grandeur


Hexagonal covered box with oak leaf design in maki-e and mother-of-pearl inlay, Murose Kazumi
Hexagonal covered box with oak leaf design in maki-e and mother-of-pearl inlay

Murose Kazumi
(Private collection)


Artists’ comment

This work expresses the golden glow of an autumnal scene. The box was made by sculpting dried lacquer (kanshitsu), with mother-of-pearl inlays for the acorns, while the leaves were crafted from lead sheets and sprinklings of gold and other metallic filings and finished with the togidashi maki-e technique.



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Section 2 Black Absorbs All Colors / White Reflects All Light


Sora no hibiki (“Sound”), Haruyama Fuminori
Sora no hibiki  (“Sound”)

Haruyama Fuminori
(Private collection)


Artists’ comment

This work represents as an aural ceremonial tool to evoke the romance of the universe.



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Section 3 The Red of Life / The Spirit of Nature


Ripples–2018, Honma Hideaki
【Bamboo Weaving 】
Ryūmon—2018 (“Ripples–2018”)

Honma Hideaki
(Private collection)


Artists’ comment

This represents the surging waves of the Sea of Japan, with sea spray lashing against the rocks. I used countless u-shaped strips of bamboo to capture the pattern of the waves, and bound them to the frame.



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Section 4 The Blue of Water Surpasses Time and Space / The Green of Forests and Mountains is the Breath of Life


Sekiyō (“Setting Sun”) Glass bowl with silk braid design Adachi Masao
Sekiyō (“Setting Sun”)
Glass bowl with silk braid design

Adachi Masao
(Private collection)


Artists’ comment

This work was created to evoke the softness of light shining through traditional washi paper. I ground white glass into powder, pressed it in place, and fired it at a high temperature to achieve a gentle translucence reminiscent of washi.



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General Information

Period Monday, September 21–Sunday, November 15, 2020
Venue Hyokeikan Gallery at the Tokyo National Museum
Hours Tuesday–Thursday, Sunday, 9:30–17:00; Friday–Saturday, 9:30–21:00
Closed Mondays (except September 21), Wednesday September 23
Admission Adults:  1500 yen
University students:  1000 yen
High school students:  600 yen

Online reservations required.
To prevent crowding, this exhibition requires advance bookings.
Before arrival at the gallery, all visitors are required to make an online reservation for a specified date and time. For further information, please visit the official exhibition website.
The special exhibition Momoyama: Artistic Visions in a Turbulent Century (October 6–November 29) will require a separate reservation and entry fee.
Exhibits, dates, opening times, and entry regulations subject to change; please confirm via the official exhibition website.
Access 10 minutes' walk from JR Ueno Station (Park exit) and Uguisudani Station
15 minutes' walk from Keisei Ueno Station, Tokyo Metro Ueno Station and Tokyo Metro Nezu Station
Organizers Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan Arts Council, Tokyo National Museum, The Yomiuri Shimbun
With the Sponsorship of Canon Inc., East Japan Railway Company, JAPAN TOBACCO INC., Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd., MITSUBISHI ESTATE Co., Ltd., Meiji Holdings Co., Ltd.
With the Assistance of SHIMIZU CORPORATION, Takashimaya, Takenaka Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation
With cooperation from Tajima Roofing, TAKEO, Toki Corporation
Venue design Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects
Catalog The exhibition catalog (2,750 yen) is available at the museum shop in Japanese Gallery (Honkan)
General Inquiries 03-5777-8600 (Japanese only)
Exhibition Website  


FY 2020 Japan Cultural Expo Project Presented and Co-presented by Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, and Japan Arts Council