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Friday, April 23, 2010

Nihonbashi event offers antiques 101

Staff writer

The district of Nihonbashi, in the east of central Tokyo, is home to around 150 dealers in antiques, classical art, crafts, Japanese-style paintings, sculptures and prints. Most, however, have managed to sustain themselves on the dedicated patronage of a few wealthy collectors and well-connected dealers, and therefore haven't needed to worry about catering to the masses.

News photo
Kimono deals: The Kimono Sarasa gallery, which deals in antique kimono, will collaborate with antiques dealer Ootani for the three days of Tokyo Art & Antiques.

The new Tokyo Art & Antiques is an event that shows just how much things have changed. Half of Nihonbashi's dealers have agreed to participate in the three-day event, which is designed specifically to open their trade to a wider audience.

Tokyo Art & Antiques is not to be confused with an art or antiques "fair" — there is no central venue where dealers will open booths. Instead, the idea is that, between April 30 and May 2, each of the 74 participating outlets will extend their opening hours (till 8 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. till 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday) and make an extra effort to present the kinds of wares that will tempt first-time buyers.

There will also be a number of celebrity-led tours of the area and talk events at which speakers will discuss various aspects of antiques and art collecting. A concerted effort is being made to cater to international visitors, too. NHK reporter, Japan Times columnist and culture-vulture Judit Kawaguchi will lead several English- language tours of select dealers on each of the event's three days.

If you've ever wanted to tour some of Tokyo's antiques and classical art galleries, but haven't known where to start, then this is an opportunity not to be missed.

See www.tokyoartantiques.com for further details.

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