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Top>Hakumon CHUO [2009 Winter Issue]>Until January 11th at the Tobacco and Salt Museum (Shibuya, Tokyo)

Hakumon CHUOIndex

Towards the 125th Anniversary of our Founding
125th Anniversary Special Exhibition The Complete Hiraki Collection: An Encyclopedic Array of Ukiyo-e

Until January 11th at the Tobacco and Salt Museum (Shibuya, Tokyo)

A Chuo University 125th Anniversary Special Exhibition entitled The Complete Hiraki Collection: An Encyclopedic Array of Ukiyo-e (held by Chuo University, the Hirai Ukiyo-e Art Museum, and the Tobacco and Salt Museum) was held from November 21st at the Tobacco and Salt Museum located in the Jinnan District of Shibuya Ward, Tokyo. The special anniversary exhibition is split into a First Exhibit (November 21st to December 13th) and a Second Exhibit (December 15th to January 11th).

The Hiraki Collection, which was assembled by the businessman Mr. Shinji Hiraki, is a world renowned ukiyo-e collection that contains many works which have been designated as important cultural properties and artistic treasures. The current exhibition introduces both ukiyo-e and outstanding written editions with a focus on picture books.

The First Exhibit is entitled The Real Ukiyo-e!-Treasures, Rarities and Masterpieces from the Hiraki Collection and features ukiyo-e carefully selected from the Hiraki Collection, including 5 works designated as important cultural properties. The Second Exhibit is conducted under the theme of What Were Ukiyo-e?-A Study of Ukiyo-e Cultural History and reevaluates the cultural and historical significance of ukiyo-e by reexamining the works as cultural assets from a contemporaneous perspective, a cultural history perspective, and a social history perspective.

Attendees view ukiyo-e works at the private showing.

Attendees view ukiyo-e works at the private showing.

A private showing and a reception were held on November 21st, the first day of the exhibition. The event was attended by Mr. Shuji Hisano, Chairman of the Board of Regents at Chuo University, as well as by Chancellor & President Kazuyuki Nagai and faculty members of the Faculty of Letters who served on the Exhibition Committee. Other attendees included the Museum Directors and curators from both the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Art Museum and the Tobacco and Salt Museum, as well as a large number of invitees.

After the private showing, the reception was held at a hotel located near the museum. Chancellor & President Kazuyuki Nagai gave an opening speech in which he expressed gratitude to all related parties. He also stated that "all Japanese share a sensibility towards the beauty of ukiyo-e" and offered his prayers for the success of the exhibition.

Next, the podium was taken by Mr. Hiroshi Okazaki, Director of the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation, and by Mr. Hideo Katsuura, Director of the Tobacco and Salt Museum. Mr. Okazaki gave the following comment: "I am deeply satisfied with the contents of this exhibition. I hope that many visitors will view and evaluate these works which form the core of the Hiraki Collection." Mr. Katsuura had the following to say regarding the appeal of the special exhibition: "It is a great honor to be part of this special exhibition. The works gathered for this exhibition are vital material for understanding ukiyo-e culture and the printing culture of the Edo Period. I hope that visitors will come to the exhibition many times."

Afterwards, Chairman Hisano raised the following toast: "Ukiyo-e will undoubtedly continue to receive high evaluation in the future. In the same way, I want to make every possible effort to ensure that Chuo University will also receive high evaluation in the future." The reception then shifted to an atmosphere of social interaction.

Members of the Exhibition Committee were introduced at the reception.

Members of the Exhibition Committee were introduced at the reception.

The remainder of the reception consisted of socializing among attendees in a relaxed atmosphere. Attendees of the private showing offered opinions and impressions such as: "There is deep meaning in such a large amount of famous works being gathered for one exhibition. All of the works are of high quality and wonderfully preserved." "It is a stunning collection that is extremely worthy of viewing."

Members of the Exhibition Committee were introduced during pauses in the social interaction. Mr. Mitsunobu Sato, Director of the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Art Museum, acted as representative of the committee and delivered a speech. His speech introduced the process of preparing to hold the exhibition and emphasized that "the works contained in this exhibition are treasures of Japan." Finally, the school song was sung in unison together with a performance by members of the Chuo University Orchestra, and the private showing and reception was closed with a speech by Mr. Shigehiko Uno, Chairman of the Exhibition Committee and Professor in the Faculty of Letters.

Admission fees for the special anniversary exhibition are 300 yen (150 yen) for adults and university students, 100 yen (50 yen) for elementary, junior high school and high school students, and free for persons aged 70 years or older. Prices listed in parentheses are for groups of 20 persons of more. Museum hours are from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The museum is closed on Mondays (note however that the museum is open on Monday, January 11th) and from December 28th to January 4th.

(Student Reporter: Koichi Hirose, 2nd Year Student in the Faculty of Letters)