Edo-Tokyo Museum to Hold Exhibition Highlighting the 30,000 Year History of Tokyo

16.September.2021 | SPOT

Tokyo as we know it today is built upon tens of thousands of years of history. The Paleolithic era, during which traces of human life have been found in the Tokyo area, dates back more than 30,000 years. It might be difficult to imagine what life was like so long ago, but ruins discovered during urban development offer a glimpse into the ancient past. 

 

The Edo-Tokyo Museum opened in 1993, and is set to begin a large-scale renovation in April 2022. Prior to the museum’s temporary closure, a special exhibition titled ‘Memories of the City: A Thirty Thousand Year History of Tokyo’ will open from September 18 until December 5, 2021. The installation will look back on the history of Japan’s capital, from the Paleolithic era to the present day.

Tokyo Takanawa Coast Steam Railway – Hiroshige Utagawa III. 1871. 

Sword-shaped Haniwa. Excavated from Kannonzuka Burial Mound. From the Kofun Period (250-538 CE)

Roof tiles. Excavated from the Site of Musashi Kokubunji Temple. From the Nara Period (710-794 CE)

Scene from Yamabuki no Sato by Ota Dokan. Saitou Yukio, Saitou Yukitaka, Saitou Gesshin, Hasegawa Settan. 1836. 

Excavated Materials from Hachioji Castle Ruins. From the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1558-1600 CE)

Map of Edo. 1666. 

Procession of the Lords of Edo. Adachi Ginko. 1889. 

Washington Heights (Tokyo Aerial Photograph). Satou Suiyou. 1957.

Blazer worn by the Japanese Delegation at Tokyo Olympic Games. 1964. 

Nipponbashi at Dawn. Kawase Hasui. 1940. 

 

 

As urban development continues to progress, it’s incredible to look back at the many people who have lived in the Tokyo area, and the many events that have taken place over time. Recently, a new train stop was added to the busy Yamanote Line in the capital, and the remains of an old railroad track were discovered during construction! What else might be hiding beneath the metropolis? 

 

Tokyo has undergone constant change due to natural disasters, war, and urban development, but historical buildings and important spots that tell the story of the city are being carefully preserved for future generations. Visitors to Japan often comment on this, claiming that so much of Tokyo’s beauty comes from it’s blend of old and new. 

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    Comment from monyusode

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    Kibiso Stripes & Streaks2018 Photo Sue McNab

    Kibiso ZoriPhoto Keiko Matsubara

    Swinging Cherries2021 Photo Keiko Matsubara

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    Kibiso – Ogarami Choshi Sheets2018 Photo Keiko Matsubara

    Ogarami Choshi, the byproduct of the silk mill: Photo Keiko Matsubara

    The First Cultivation of the Matsugaoka Reclamation Site 




    Tsuruoka City is the only region in Japan where the entire silk-making process–from caring for silkworms to dying and wearing–is completed in a single place. Silk production began in 1872 when the former Shonai clam’s samurai warriors began cultivating new lands around the Matsugaoka area. During the Meiji period, a local inventor named Saito Toichi invented the automatic weaving machine, making the production of silk fabrics much quicker and easier. The new fabrics were exported around the country to be used in dresses, and silk production quickly became the area’s main industry. 

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    [Tokyo] NANARIDA

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    TEXT: Natalie(MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON)

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    [Niigata] Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival

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    Aki Kannon, one of the more famous deco-trucks, will be parked on the first floor Park Avenue side of Shibuya PARCO for a limited time, from September 24-26. 

  • The Heike Story Anime Gets New Visuals, Staff Comments Released

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    The Heike Story PV (15-second version)

     

    The 90-second version of the show’s ending theme unified perspective by Kensuke Ushio is now available to stream. 

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    Comment from Translator Hideo Furukawa

    The Tale of the Heike is a story all Japanese people should know, but in my opinion, many people misunderstand it. This is likely because people are typically only exposed to a very small piece of a much larger story. If you read through the entirety of the book, you’ll find plenty of examples of the horror of war. It’s sad. There’s a need to repose the souls of the dead, a need to mourn the dead. But in addition to the men who play the main roles on the battlefield, there’s even more drama depicted by women. Who knew that the main characters in The Tale of the Heike also include women? I wanted this anime series to show that. It’s vivid. Poignantly so. This series touches on points once hidden in the original work. Biwa, the main character, is sure to pull on your heartstrings. 

     

            

    Comment from Artist Fumiko Takano  

    When I began sketching the characters, I started with Shigemori, then moved on to the Heike brothers, starting with the youngest. 

    All of them are incredibly handsome. They’re unlike the kinds of guys I usually draw in my own manga. 

    In the middle of the design stage, I was shown the director’s storyboard. 

    I was so happy when I saw Biwa all over the place, with her round face and her curious eyes. 

    This series is fresh and new, and I just want to thank everyone who gave me the opportunity to be a part of it. 

     

    Comment from Character Designer, Takashi Kojima

    (It’s fantastic, so be sure to watch!)

     

    ©「平家物語」製作委員会

  • New Tokyo Tourism Center ‘Have a Nice TOKYO!’ Opens to Promote Local Attractions

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    Have a Nice TOKYO! (HanT), a new tourist communication center promoting both local and nationwide events and attractions, celebrated its grand opening on September 14, 2021. 

     

    This new facility aims to provide assistance and guidance to both domestic and international visitors, helping with matters relating to sightseeing, culture, food, and technology. It’s three main functions are tourism assistance, providing useful and necessary information, and selling goods from around the country. As the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a major blow against the country’s tourism industry, this new venture was opened in a conveniently-located space, well-suited for the important task of helping the local and nationwide economies when the country opens to travel once again. The nearby Marunouchi Happ. Stand & Gallery, a cafe, will act as a partner facility and will offer a special menu linked to the project. 

     

     

    Tourism Advice & Guidance

    Information Counter

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    Travel Information & Assistance

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    Sale of Goods

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  • Machi Tawara Exhibition Highlighting Poet’s Inspirational Works to be Extended

    22.September.2021 | FASHION / SPOT

    The Kadokawa Musashino Museum in Tokorozawa, Saitama, has been holding an exhibition honoring the works of contemporary writer and poet Machi Tawara since July 21 of this year. Now, the showing has been extended until December 5, 2021, to allow more people to enjoy the work of this inspirational and prolific creator. 

     

     

     

    Tawara won the Kadokawa Tanka Award in 1986, and in 1987, her collection of poems were published in the book Salad Anniversary, which went on to sell three million copies and become a literary phenomenon. In the 35 years since, Tawara has published six more poetry books, and in 2021, her latest collection Size of the Future received the highest award in the world of tanka. A genre of classical Japanese poetry, tanka is what put Tawara on the map, and the writer is credited with revitalizing the style in the modern age. Her poetry tackles countless personal subjects, including love, childbirth, single motherhood, the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, moving, and most recently, COVID-19. 

     

    Since its opening in July, the exhibition has been well-received by visitors, resonating with both the young and old and bridging the gap between those who lived in the Showa era, the Heisei era, and the current Reiwa era. There is something for everyone to connect to in this gorgeous showing of raw emotion in the form of poetry. 

     

  • Chiba City Museum of Art Brings Ukiyo-e Exhibition to Osaka’s Takashimaya Department Store

    21.September.2021 | SPOT

    New Prints: The Evolutionary Beauty of UKIYO-E, featuring pieces from the Chiba City Museum of Art, will be held at Takashimaya Osaka from September 15-27, 2021. 

     

    Ukiyo-e, or woodblock prints, were exceptionally popular as a Japanese art style from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Now, a new exhibition coming to Osaka is highlighting the ‘Shin-hanga’ movement, which took place during the early 20th century and focused largely on the creation of pieces to sell to foreign markets. The man behind this movement was Shozaburo Watanabe, who commissioned artists to design prints blending traditional Japanese techniques with unique elements of Western paintings at the time, such as shadowing and different perspectives. 

     

    The exhibition will contain 120 works selected from the Chiba City Museum of Art’s Shin-hanga collection, ranging from early masterpieces such as Goyo Hashiguchi’s ‘Woman at her Bath,’ Ito Shinsui’s ‘Before the Mirror,’ as well as rich depictions of Japanese landscapes by Hasui Kawase and international landscapes by Hiroshi Yoshida. 

     

    Selection of Featured Works

     

    Twelve Months of Tokyo: Evening Glow at Yanaka – Hasui Kawase. 1921. 

     

    The Twelve Months in Tokyo series consists of twelve paintings based on sketches made by Kawase between December 1920 and October 1921. While twelve pieces were planned, only four circular pieces and one square piece were completed. Evening Glow at Yanaka depicts a five-story pagoda glowing faintly in the light of the setting sun. Kawase has stated that as he finished sketching the piece, he heard the sound of a bell, and for some reason, he had the uncanny feeling that he needed to straighten his collar. 

     

     

    Sailing Boats in the Morning: Inland Sea – Hiroshi Yoshida. 1926.

     

    Yoshida began work on the Sailing Ship trilogy in 1921 under Shozaburo Watanabe, but all of his woodblocks and most of his works were lost in the Great Kanto Earthquake. Five years later, Yoshida decided to tackle the project again, this time deciding on six pieces. In contrast to the originals under Watanabe, these pieces tackled more nuanced periods of time and give a stronger sense of tranquility. Pay attention to the slight variations in color and light. 

     

    Before the Mirror. Ito Shinsui. 1916. 

    This is the first Shin-hanga work by Ito Shinsui. The piece only uses three colors: red, black, and white, and utilizes serrated carving to give the impression of shadows. Using layers of rare high-quality red paint, this work has been deemed a masterpiece by fans of the movement, conveying Shinsui’s subtlety when depicting the feminine figure. 

     

    Fashions of the Modern World: Tipsy – Kiyoshi Kobayakawa. 1930.

    This portrait of a modern lady is one of six in the Fashions of the Modern World series by Kobayakawa, and is regarded by many as the best in the bunch. Produced between 1930 and 1931, the artist portrayed the unique personalities of women, rather than sticking to tradition. The woman in this portrait isn’t demure or quiet, but instead shows off her short hair, a cigarette, rings, and a cocktail in her hand, showing a different side to the Japanese women of the period. 

     

    Combing the Hair. Goyo Hashiguchi. 1920. 

    With her overflowing black hair and elegant appearance, the subject of Combing the Hair makes it clear why this is Hashiguchi’s most representative work. The woman’s name is Tomi Kodaira, and she modeled for many of the artist’s works, being discovered by him as she was modeling at a nearby art school. The pose is said to be inspired by Rossetti’s Lady Lilith, but her expression is unique to Hashiguchi and the typical style of ukiyo-e. 

  • Magnificent Work of Art on Display at Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival Until October 2

    16.September.2021 | SPOT

    Sado Island, sitting off the Japanese mainland close to the Niigata coast, has been holding an incredible art festival since August 8, 2021. The highlight of the event is a massive glowing sculpture, made as a collaboration between Koiwa Kanaami Co., Ltd. and the Nobuaki Furuya+Yuri Fujii Laboratory at Waseda University. The eye-catching installment is meant to honor the historical Sado gold mine, one of the largest in the country, and a designated National Historic Site of Japan.

     

    The peak production period of the mine was 400 years ago, between 1615 to 1645. The mines on Sado produced over 400 kilograms of gold and nearly 38 tons of silver each year, making it one of the largest producers in the world at the time. The town of Aikawa, where the mine is located, is now filled with historical and tourist sites, with many buildings preserved and used as museums to teach visitors about mining technology over the years. A number of rail lines once ran around today’s Oma Port, carrying ore and other mining materials.

     

    The Sato gold mine was developed by Takato Oshima, one of the most important engineers in Japanese history, and the man also responsible for creating the first blast furnace and Western-style gun in Japan.

     

    Headlining the event, the ‘Scene Spinner’ installation consists of two spiral concepts: one, based on the spiral pumping machine used to drain water seeping into the mine, and the other inspired by the rail system around Oma Port. These spirals were made by using a wire mesh frame, which resembles the silhouette of the Sado gold mine. Each piece shown at the Galaxy Art Festival is meant to express the remaining historical importance of this often-overlooked area.

     

    The exhibition site, the former Oma Port, marks the location where materials were brought from the mines, and where the remains of the modern mining industry remain today. Oma Port, which has served as the gateway between Sado Island and the mainland, seems the perfect spot to hold this inspiring event, asking visitors to look around and think about the history made on this beautiful island.

  • Japanred Project Opens New Website to Promote Recultivation of Japanese Akane Plant

    13.September.2021 | FASHION

    The Osaka-Kansai Expo’s “TEAM EXPO 2025 Co-creation Challenge” have launched the official Japan Red Project website, marking the beginning of a new project which aims to revive and redevelop the cultivation of the Japanese Akane, a culture which died out during the middle ages.

     

    Japanese Akane, or Madder, is a flowering plant that grows naturally across Japan – But few people are aware of its existence. Despite this, the plant’s root has been used to create red pigment in Japan since ancient times, appearing in excavated materials from the Yoshinogari ruins and in the Gishiwajinten records. It was also used to dye multiple precious historical artifacts, such as Nara period Emperor Shomu’s favorite items and on Heian period armour. The first rising sun flag, which was established as the official flag of Japan upon the arrival of American ships in 1984.

     

    The color is called JAPAN RED, but the dying method of Japanese Akane is tough – It requires a large number of roots to create the pigment, but the roots take three years to grow. The practice gradually declined, and eventually even the appearance of the Akane was forgotten, becoming a phantom plant. Due to this, the Japanese Akane is not available as a commercial dye.

     

    The Japanred project is working towards agricultural diversification, focusing on the Japanese Akane. Their goal is to bring Japan’s most important shade of red into the modern world and introduce it to a wider audience, increasing demand. Why not check out their official website to learn more about the iconic plant?

     

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