Yayoi Museum exhibits artworks on prints such as book illustrations, cartoons and magazines that were created from the late Meiji period to the postwar period. The main artist is Kasho Takabatake, an illustrator who flourished in the beginning of the Showa period. On the first and second floors of the museum, various exhibitions are held with the concepts changing every three months. The third floor is dedicated to Kasho’s works throughout the year with around 50 pieces of art on constant display, and the theme of the exhibition changes every three months.
Yayoi Museum has held popular Taisho-Romanticism-themed exhibitions such as "Beauty, Elegance and Satanism: Close Look at Kimono in Junichiro Tanizaki's literature (Banquet of Antique Kimono and Illustrations)" and " Kawaii Culture that began in the Taisho Period." At the same time, the museum has also cast a spotlight on recent manga culture, exhibiting the works of Ryoko Yamagishi and Eiko Mutsu as well as a 1970’s smash hit manga “Dousei Jidai” by Kazuo Kamimura.
Above all others, the main attraction of the museum is the works of Kasho Takabatake displayed on the third floor. Kasho drew a wide range of subjects including boys and girls, but especially his image of women dressed in modern clothing has established a firm reputation. It was a time when women’s social standing began to improve, and his image of women dressed in Western clothes with short hair received enthusiastic support.
Adjacent to Yayoi Museum is Takehisa Yumeji Museum, the only place in Tokyo where you can appreciate Yumeji’s works. As a prominent painter, book designer and graphic designer of Taisho Romanticism, the range of Yumeji’s works are extensive. Focusing not only on his works but also on his career and personal life, the museum displays 200 to 250 exhibits at all times.
Yumeji’s drawings of young girls, which are the origin of “kawaii” culture in Japan, are also popular overseas and have attracted a growing attention to the customs and culture of the Taisho period.
“Yumeji Takehisa's Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter: Drawings of Four Seasons” is currently on exhibit.
Yumeji’s view of four seasons is expressed in the form of Japanese paintings, illustrations, poems and tanka poems.
The museum irregularly opens “Roman Photography” where customers get to dress up in an old-style kimono and have pictures taken like in Yumeji’s drawings. If you’re interested, contact “Roman Photography” (http://www.roman3.net).
Jan 2017 Text: Ryoko Kuraishi Photo: Yasuo Yamaguchi
Takehisa Yumeji Museum 2-4-2, Yayoi, Bunkyo-Ku, Tokyo
(For both museums) Hours: 10:00 – 17:00 (Entry permitted until 16:30) Closed: Mondays (If a national holiday falls on a Monday, the next Tuesday will be closed), during exhibition replacement periods, around New Year’s Day Entrance fee: 900 yen