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Friday, Dec. 24, 2010


Ueno Museum celebrates its new look

Staff writer

The Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park is ready to show off its new look.

News photo
Drumming up interest: A drum performance is one of many festivities taking place at the re-opening of the Tokyo National Museum's main building after renovations.

On Jan. 2, the museum will celebrate the new year with the re-opening of the honkan (main building) with a newly renovated main floor. Festive events such as kamikiri (traditional Japanese vaudeville entertainment), lion dances, taiko (drum) performances and ikebana (flower arranging) workshops.

The museum is situated among many other historical and important cultural sites in Ueno Park, which is located in Tokyo's Taito Ward. Besides the national museum, the National Science Museum, the National Museum of Western Art, Buddhist temples and a zoo are housed in the park. The Tokyo National Museum is the largest and oldest of the structures, and has been designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan.

The museum was established in 1872, but moved to Ueno Park 10 years later. The honkan was originally designed by British architect Josiah Conder and houses the Japanese gallery, which includes masterpieces dating back to the Jomon Period (14,000-300 B.C.). The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 damaged most of the building, which was then redesigned by Jin Watanabe. In 1945, most of the collection was moved to protect it during the war, leaving the museum closed.

The museum is open daily except for Mondays and during the yearend holidays. It reopens to the public on Jan. 2.

Along with the festivities celebrating the rennovation, a two-week-long special exhibition will be held for which the museum will display its finest treasures. Among these works are Ogata Korin's 18th century painting "Wind God and Thunder God" and Katsushika Hokusai's famous "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" series of woodblock prints.

"Celebrating the Renewal of Honkan" will take place at the Tokyo National Museum in Taito Ward's Ueno Park from Jan. 2-16. For more information on the event schedule and the special exhibition, call (03) 5405-8686 or visit www.tnm.go.jp/en.

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