EISEI BUNKO MUSEUM

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Exhibitions Schedule 2024

*No advance reservation is required. However, we may ask guests to wait at the entrance depending on the crowd condition inside the museum.

Early Spring Exhibition 2024

Colors in Chinese Ceramics:
Two-thousand-year history of ceramic colors

Period
Saturday, January 13 – Sunday, April 14, 2024
Closed
Mondays except February 12, 2024
Closed on February 13, 2024
Opening hours
10:00am to 4:30pm (last entry 4:00pm)
 

Eisei Bunko Museum holds a collection of more than a hundred Chinese ceramic works from the Han to the Qing dynasties, through which we can trace the two-thousand-year history of Chinese ceramics. The collection can be divided into two groups: ceramics collected by Hosokawa Moritatsu (1883-1970), the founder of Eisei Bunko Museum, and those which had been handed down through the generations of the Hosokawa lord family. Recognizing the growing popularity of Chinese ceramics, Moritatsu started to collect ceramic works from the perspective of art appreciation and is regarded as a pioneer of collecting decorative ceramics. Not only collectors but artists of his generation showed much interest in Chinese ceramics and they adopted the Chinese ceramic motifs in their works.

This exhibition features the fine Chinese ceramic works mainly from Moritatsu’s collection including three Important Cultural Properties. We classified the exhibits by color such as white porcelain, celadon porcelain, underglaze blue, and overglaze enamels aiming to provide the visitors with an overview of the history of Chinese ceramics. Paintings by Umehara Ryuzaburo (1888-1986), an artist of Western-style paintings, and ceramics by Kawai Kanjiro (1890-1966) and Uno Soyo (1888-1973), which were inspired by Chinese works are also on display. We hope the visitors enjoy the various colors of Chinese ceramics ranging from ancient days through modern times.

Artwork
Important Cultural Property
Tripod Dish with auspicious flower design

Tang Dynasty, China, 7-8th century
Eisei Bunko Museum
Artwork
Important Cultural Property
Vase with sgraffito design of peonies

Northern Song Dynasty, China, 11-12th century
Eisei Bunko Museum
Artwork
Important Art Object
Painted Pottery Female Figure

Tang Dynasty, China, 7-8th century
Eisei Bunko Museum

List of Works

Partnership with Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo offers a special activity for international tourists that includes admission to Eisei Bunko Museum. Please visit the website of the hotel for further details.

Early Summer Exhibition

Natural History Studies by the Hosokawa Lords

Period
Saturday, April 27–Sunday, June 23, 2024
Closed
Mondays except April 29 and May 6, 2024
Closed on April 30 and May 7, 2024
Opening hours
10:00am to 4:30pm (last entry 4:00pm)
 

Natural history studies in Japan developed under the influence of Chinese natural history and herbalism known as “honzo-gaku.” During the 18th century, natural history became increasingly popular among lords, and Hosokawa Shigekata (1720-1785), the 6th head of the Kumamoto clan, is said to have been the pioneer of such movement. Shigekata was an excellent governor, who was called the “Phoenix of Higo” with respect and was highly praised for his accomplishments in administrative reform and industrial development of the domain and establishment of the domain school called Jishūkan. He also enjoyed studying natural history and left behind many sketches of animals, insects, and flowers. Shigekata’s intricately detailed sketches show his extraordinary curiosity and interest in recording the appearance of natural creatures at a time when there was no photography. In this exhibition, titled “Lord Hosokawa’s Sketchbook”, we introduce various works that indicate what seemed ‘real’ to Lord Hosokawa.

Artwork
“Portrait of Hosokawa Shigekata” with the inscription by Taniguchi Keiko
by Takehara Harumichi

Edo period, 18th century
Eisei Bunko Museum
Artwork
Mokaikikan (Album of Natural History Paintings)”
Edo period, 18th century
Eisei Bunko Museum
Artwork
Konchushokazu (Metamorphic Phases of Insects)”
Edo period, 18th century
Eisei Bunko Museum

Summer Exhibition

Come on, Kuyo-mon!:
Find Hidden Hosokawa Family Crests in the Collection

Period
Saturday, July 27 –Monday (substitute holiday), September 23, 2024
Closed
Mondays except August 12, September 16, September 23, 2024
Closed on August 13 and September 17, 2024
Opening hours
10:00am to 4:30pm (last entry 4:00pm)
 

Kuyo-mon, the family crest of the Hosokawa family, is considered to represent nine stars, which are the seven luminaries (the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) and Rahu and Ketu (planets that are associated with eclipses and comets). Since the people believed in astrology, nine-planets were frequently used in the designs for vehicles and clothes to bring blessings and they became widely used as family crests. The nine-planet crest of the Hosokawa family is said to have been bestowed on Hosokawa Tadaoki, the second head, by Oda Nobunaga. Among various types of nine-planet crests, the crest called “Hosokawa kuyo” with circles arranged apart from each other was most commonly used by the family and was applied on items such as arms, furniture, textiles, and hanging scroll mountings.

 

We have adopted the kuyo-mon as the theme of our exhibition for the first time and seek to show the relationship between the Hosokawa family and kuyo-mon by displaying items with the crest that had been handed down through generations in the family. Come on to the Eisei Bunko Museum in the summer 2024 to find kuyo-mon crests hidden in the exhibits!

Artwork
Jinbaori(Surcoat) made of white wool with nine-planet crests
Edo period, 17-18th century
Eisei Bunko Museum
Artwork
Boxes for the Shell-Matching Game with shells with nine-planet crests in makie
Edo period, 19th century
Eisei Bunko Museum
Artwork
Stationery Box with cherry blossom, nine-planet crests, and arabesque design in mother-of-pearl inlay
Edo period, 18-19th century
Eisei Bunko Museum

Autumn Exhibition

Exhibition to Commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the Kumamoto University Eisei Bunko Research Center
The World of Letters from Oda Nobunaga (TBD)

Period
Saturday, October 5 –Sunday, December 1, 2024
Closed
Mondays except October 14 and November 4, 2024
Closed on October 15 and November 5, 2024
Opening hours
10:00am to 4:30pm (last entry 4:00pm)
 

Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) was a warlord, who lived through a turbulent era in Japanese history. Eisei Bunko Museum stores 59 letters sent from Nobunaga, and remarkably, such a large number of letters have been handed down through generations in one place. Nobunaga Monjo is unparalleled both in quality and quantity in that it contains a letter in Nobunaga’s own handwriting and that we can trace the tumultuous decade from the confrontation between Nobunaga and Ashikaga Yoshiaki to the Honnoji Incident just through these documents.

 

This exhibition displays the whole archive to explore the eventful life of Oda Nobunaga, who powerfully extended his conquest over the country but died without accomplishing his ambition. Through Nobunaga’s letters, we carefully traced the historical events related to Nobunaga such as his entering Kyoto and the fall of the Ashikaga Shogunate, the fierce struggle against Ikko ikki (the uprising of Ikko sect followers), the Battle of Nagashino, Araki Murashige’s rebellion, and the Honnoji Incident caused by Akechi Mitsuhide together with the movements of Hosokawa Fujitaka (1534-1610) and other lords that served Nobunaga. Is the image of Nobunaga held by many people today as innovative, bizarre, cruel, and superhuman true? The real personality of Nobunaga will be revealed through the historical materials of Eisei Bunko Museum.

Artwork
Important Cultural Property
“Letter of Commendation”
written by Oda Nobunaga addressed to Hosokawa Tadaoki

Dated 1577 (Tensho 5), the 10th month, 2nd day
Eisei Bunko Museum
Artwork
Important Cultural Property
“Memorandum”
written by Akechi Mitsuhide addressed to Hosokawa Fujitaka and Hosokawa Tadaoki

Dated 1582 (Tensho10), the 6th month, 9th day
Eisei Bunko Museum
Artwork
“Portrait of Hosokawa Yusai (Fujitaka)”
attributed to Tashiro Toyu

Edo period, 17th century
Eisei Bunko Museum

Early Spring Exhibition 2025

Japanese Ceramic Collection of Eisei Bunko Museum (TBD)

Period
Saturday, January 11 –Sunday, April 13, 2025
Closed
Mondays except January 13 and February 24, 2025
Closed on January 14 and February 25, 2025
Opening hours
10:00am to 4:30pm (last entry 4:00pm)
 

Eisei Bunko Museum houses a wide range of Japanese ceramics in its collection. Yatsushiro ware, (also known as Koda ware or Hirayama ware) was first produced in Koda, Yatsushiro City in Kumamoto Prefecture by a pottery called Sonkai (Agano Kizo), who was invited by Hosokawa Tadaoki, the 2nd head of the Hosokawa family. Yatsushiro ware is known for its decorative technique in which a design is inlaid with clay on the ceramic body, and it was a popular gift for the shogun’s envoys as the product of the official kiln patronized by the Kumamoto clan.

 

Kawai Kanjiro (1890-1966) was a potter who was active from the Taisho to Showa periods. His early works following the style of ancient Chinese ceramics attracted attention, and he learned much from the Chinese ceramic collection of Hosokawa Moritatsu (1883-1970), the founder of the Eisei Bunko Museum. Kanjiro later became a member of the ‘Mingei movement’, which led to a significant change in his style.

 

We present Yatsushiro ware and the works by Kawai Kanjiro for the first time in about 20 years in this exhibition. Please take the opportunity to visit our museum and discover their charms.

Artwork
Tea Bowl with peony design in inlay
Edo period, 17th century
Eisei Bunko Museum
Artwork
Tea Bowl, white porcelain with wisteria design in inlay
Edo period, 19th century
Eisei Bunko Museum

About Eisei Bunko Museum

museum appearance

Eisei Bunko Museum and the Hosokawa Family

Eisei Bunko Museum is located in a verdant area of Mejirodai in Bunkyo-ku, where visitors can enjoy the traditional landscape of Musashino. The museum building stands on the property where the Hosokawa family lived from the Edo period to the end of World War Ⅱ.

The Hosokawa was one of the three elite warrior families whose head served as kanrei (deputy shogun) to the Muromachi Bakufu. The new line of the Hosokawa family was started during the warring states period by Hosokawa Fujitaka (Yusai). For distinguished war service, the Hosokawa family was given the fief of Higo (present Kumamoto prefecture) valued at 540,000 koku in the time of the third head, Tadatoshi, which made the family tozama daimyo (non-hereditary feudal lord) with unrivaled power and prosper until the end of the Edo period.

Eisei Bunko Museum houses and researches into the cultural properties handed down through the family for generations such as historical documents and artworks, and displays them in the exhibitions. It was established in 1950 by the 16th head, Moritatsu. He named the foundation “Eisei Bunko” taking the “Ei” part from Eigen-an temple, the family temple for eight generations after its founder, Hosokawa Yoriari, and the “Sei” part from Shoryuji castle, the resident of the first head, Fujitaka.

Eisei Bunko Museum was registered as museum under the Museum Law in 1973, a year after the Hosokawa Collection was first opened to the public in 1972. The current museum building was constructed in the early Showa period as kaseijo (administrative office) of the Hosokawa’s residence. The artworks in the museum’s collection were donated by Moritatsu and the 17th head, Morisada, and they are displayed in the exhibition regularly held at Eisei Bunko Museum.

The Collection of Daimyo Lord Hosokawa Family

Artwork
Important Cultural Property
Letter of Commendation
Written by Oda Nobunaga; addressed to Yoichiro (Tadaoki)

1577
Eisei Bunko Museum
Artwork
Bell
with nine-planet crest

17th century
Eisei Bunko Museum

The Hosokawa Family Collection can be broadly divided into the collection which was formed by the daimyo (feudal lords) before the Edo period and the modern/contemporary collection formed mainly by the 16th head, Moritatsu (1883-1970).

The first head, Hosokawa Fujitaka (Yusai) distinguished himself in many battles, but at the same time, he was regarded as a highly cultured person. In the world of waka (Japanese poetry), he became the only successor of “Kokin denju (the custom of inheriting the secret interpretation of the “Kokin Wakashu” and passing it on to future generations) “. His eldest son, Tadaoki (Sansai), was also a brave warrior and on displaying his bravery during his first battle, he received a kanjo (a letter commending bravery in battle), handwritten by Oda Nobunaga which has been handed down through the Hosokawa family. Since Tadaoki was an expert in tea ceremony known as one of Sen no Rikyu’s leading pupils, fine tea utensils such as tea caddy with bulging base known as “Rikyu Shirifukura” were added to the family’s collection. There are also objects relating to Tadaoki’s wife, Hosokawa Gracia (Tama), such as the bell dedicated to the Christian temple which was built to honor her. The 3rd head of the family and the first lord of the Kumamoto Clan, Tadatoshi is known to have invited Miyamoto Musashi in his late years. Many of Musashi’s ink paintings can be found in the collection. The 8th head, Shigekata, who was highly praised for his political reform of the domain administration called “Horeki Reforms”, was an intellectual person and he passed his time studying natural history which was popular at the time. Shigekata left behind a large collection of illustrated reference books with sketches of various creatures. The 10th head, Narishige, was known for his passion for paintings. He did not only collect numerous illustrated scrolls and Chinese paintings but painted many outstanding works himself which outshone the works of professional artists. Other heads of the Hosokawa family also had a deep understanding of Japanese traditional culture and they formed the excellent heirloom collection of daimyo lords’ treasures.

The Collection of Hosokawa Moritatsu

Artwork
Important Cultural Property
Fallen Leaves
By Hishida Shunso

1909
Eisei Bunko Museum

The 16th head of the Hosokawa family, Moritatsu is a well-known art collector in modern Japan. He came into contact with swords and works of Hakuin while he was fighting his illness in his middle school years, which motivated him to start art collecting. Most of the swords in the Hosokawa collection were purchased by Moritatsu, and he amassed over 400 works of Hakuin and Sengai whose brushworks he encountered while collecting Hakuin’s works.

From among Moritatsu’s collection, his nihonga (Japanese style painting) collection is renown throughout Japan. The modern nihonga collected by Moritatsu was not acquired via an agent but was bought directly from artists, and this is what characterizes his collection. Strongly attracted by the paintings by Yokoyama Taikan and Hishida Shunso when they were still undiscovered by the market, Moritatsu purchased accomplished paintings such as “Mountain Path” by Taikan and “Black Cat” and “Fallen Leaves” by Shunso. Moritatsu valued his personal relationship with the artist, and his friendship with Yokoyama Taikan continued until Taikan’s death.

Being familiar with Chinese classics from his boyhood and fascinated with Chinese culture, Moritatsu also collected Chinese Antiques energetically. When he saw “Kinginsaku Shuryomon Kyo (Bronze Mirror with design of hunting scene in gold and silver inlay)”, later known as the “Hosokawa Mirror” and designated a National Treasure, he took an instant liking to the object and immediately bought it. At the time, no similar examples could be found. Moritatsu also left a marvelous collection of Chinese ceramics with sancai glaze and stone Buddha statues.

Accessible transport

From Mejiro Station (JR)

Take 白 (shiro) 61 bus bound for Shinjuku Station West Exit to Mejirodai-Sanchome bus stop and walk for 5 minutes.

From Zoshigaya Station F10 (Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line)

Take 白 (shiro) 61 bus bound for Shinjuku Station West Exit to Mejirodai-Sanchome bus stop and walk for 5 minutes.

From Waseda Station (Toden Arakawa Line)

Walk for 10 minutes.

From Edogawabashi Station Y12 (Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line)

Walk for 15 minutes from 1a Exit.

From Waseda Station T04 (Tokyo Metro Tozai Line)

Walk for 15 minutes from 3a Exit.

Please note that there is no parking at the museum.
If you would like to come by car, please use the parking lots nearby.

General Information

Opening hours

10:00 am to 4:30 pm (last entry 4:00 pm)

Closed

Mondays
(Except when a national holiday falls on Monday.
In this case, the museum is open on the holiday and is closed the next weekday. )

Year-end and New Year holidays
In addition, the museum is closed during exhibit change.

Admission fees

Adults
1000 (900) yen
Adults 70 and over
800 (700) yen
High school and College Students
500 (400) yen

Eisei Bunko Museum

Address
1-1-1 Mejiro-dai, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-0015 Japan
Telephone
+81-(0)3-3941-0850
Fax
+81-(0)3-3943-0454

Image Service

Eisei Bunko Museum loans images for public use including TV programs and publications.

Important Notices

The following conditions apply in using the loaned images.

  1. You must clearly indicate in publication or broadcast that the owner of the materials is Eisei Bunko Museum.
  2. It is prohibited to use images for purposes other than those stated in the application.
  3. When you want to provide changes to the loaned image including trimming or partial use, we shall ascertain in advance how the images are going to be used.
  4. In principle images are provided in digital files.
  5. Drafts must be confirmed prior to publication or broadcasts.
  6. The images and their backup copies must be deleted promptly after use.
  7. If you loan positive films, they must be returned with all rights related to them after use. When the films are lost, you are responsible for the cost of the new photography and duplication of the image.
  8. If problem arises concerning copyright, the applicant bears full responsibility.
  9. The application process is subject to change without prior notification.

Application Process

  1. Please printout the application form and fill in the forms.
    Application Form (Excel)
  2. Please send an application form with your seal attached with the project proposal.
  3. If you have publications with the images you are applying for, please send a photocopy to us as a conference material.

Fees and Payment Condition

Eisei Bunko Museum charges for the use of images.
Publication: 20,000 yen + tax per image.
Broadcast: 20,000 yen + tax per image.

For more details about the fees, please contact us by Fax.
For filming requests, please contact us by Fax.

Eisei Bunko Museum

Address
1-1-1 Mejiro-dai, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-0015 Japan
Telephone
+81-(0)3-3941-0850
Fax
+81-(0)3-3943-0454

Use of Materials Entrusted to
Kumamoto University Library

For permission to use the materials in the Hosokawa collection entrusted to Kumamoto University Library,
please read the following terms and conditions and submit an application form.

User Qualification

  • A person who is accustomed to handling old materials and microfilms.
  • A person who needs to use materials for scholarly activities such as academic presentation and publication.
  • A student holding Master’s degree or higher accompanied with his/her tutor.
  • A person other than those mentioned above is requested to consult us.

Application Process

Please send an application letter including following details.

  1. You must clearly state at the beginning of the letter that it is an application for the use of materials. If you want photography of the material, you should add “Application for photography” in the letter.
  2. The application letter should be addressed to “Hosokawa Morihiro, President of the Eisei Bunko Foundation”.
  3. Name and affiliation of the applicant with his/her signature and seal.
  4. Please submit A4-size paper describing the purpose of your research and its significance in detail.
  5. The title of the material you would like to use.
  6. A letter of introduction from your instructor with his seal is requested if you are a student.

Important Notices

  1. Materials are available only in microform or printed form if they are already microfilmed or printed excluding special situations. Microfilmed materials are accessible at Kumamoto University Library. Printed materials are available in other libraries.
  2. Use of the material cannot be permitted if there is a risk of physical damage to it.
  3. You are permitted to take photographs of materials only by handheld camera unless you have requested for special permission. We do not allow copying all pages from the original material. You are permitted to take partial images you have requested in advance.
  4. You are asked to pay 5,000 yen + tax for the use of materials and 100 yen + tax per shot for photography.
  5. The application process is subject to change without prior notification.

Eisei Bunko Museum

Address
1-1-1 Mejiro-dai, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-0015 Japan
Telephone
+81-(0)3-3941-0850
Fax
+81-(0)3-3943-0454