Nikko Toshogu Shrine art exhibitions, commemorating THE 480th anniversary of the birth of Tokugawa Ieyasu.


 Geijutsu-no-Tora Exhibition and Miki-no-Chikara Exhibition were held at Nikko Toshogu Shrine, the Head Shrine of Toshogu Shrines, dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, to commemorate the 480th anniversary of his birth, from Saturday, November 5, to Wednesday, November 9, 2022, which is the year of tiger.

 Geijutsu-no-Tora Exhibition was held in the Reception Hall, designed by the famous architect, Mr. Kenzo Tange, and featured 203 pieces of Japanese art works. They included 55 Western-style paintings, 4 photographs including one by Advisor Akao, 18 Japanese paintings, 14 ink paintings, 3 sculptures, 42 crafts, 67 calligraphy, and 1 haiku.

 At Miki-no-Chikara Exhibition, the sake bottles of Otokoyama Brewery with art labels were exhibited at East Gallery (national treasure) of the Shrine. The Tokugawa family originally granted the license for sake brewery to Otokoyama Brewery. A total of 100 works were exhibited, including 24 Western-style paintings, 4 photographs, 6 Japanese paintings, 7 ink paintings, 1 sculpture, 23 crafts, 36 calligraphy, and 1 haiku.

 Altogether, 42,000 people visited the exhibitions. The exhibitions drew a pre-pandemic level of crowd, partly owing to the autumn leaf colour season.

November 5, 2022

 The opening ceremony of Geijutsu-no-Tora Exhibition was held at Butokuden Hall of Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Mr. Ichiro Yuzawa, Deputy Chief Priest, gave opening remarks and thanked all the exhibiting artists. Then, Mr. Nobutoshi Akao, Senior Advisor, spoke on behalf of Geibun Association. Mr. Akao served as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Japan to the United States, Ambassador to the International Organizations in Geneva, Ambassador of Japan to Thailand, and Secretary General of the ASEAN-Japan Centre, before he was appointed as Senior Advisor. Mr. Katsumoto Munakata, Advisor, Oriental Art, Geibun Association, who served for many years as editor-in-chief of the calligraphy magazine Sumi, also gave his impression of the exhibition.


November 6, 2022

 On the second day, an award ceremony was held for Miki-no-Chikara Exhibition. Chief Priest Mr. Hisao Inaba, was delighted to see the art labels on the sacred sake, which had been licensed by the Tokugawa family, and expressed his appreciation of Japanese artworks. In addition, Chief Priest Mr. Hisao Inaba presented 24-karat gold leaf cups from the Nikko Toshogu Shrine to the exhibitors of the Miki-No-Chikara Exhibition in the Heisei Hall (antechamber for the Emperor, Empress, and other members of the Imperial Family).

 Below are the opening remarks given at Geijutsu-no-Tora Exhibition and Miki-no-Chikara Exhibition.


Opening Remarks at Geijutsu-no-Tora Exhibition

Mr. Ichiro Yuzawa, Deputy Chief Priest

 I would like to thank many artists and scholars who have visited today’s Geijutsu-no-Tora Exhibition, an art exhibition co-sponsored by Nikko Toshogu Shrine and General Incorporated Association GEIBUN Association. We would also like to thank Mr. Nobutoshi Akao, Senior Advisor, Mr. Fumitaka Ishikawa, Representative Director, and Mr. Katsumoto Munakata, Advisor, Oriental Art, of Geibun Association, the co-sponsor of this exhibition, for their kind attendance. I believe the exhibition has been a laudable wish of some of Japan’s leading artists. These exhibitions and programs for promoting art and culture, supported by the tireless efforts of everyone involved, have become meaningful cultural activities for our shrine today.

 In this year of “tiger”, marking 480th anniversary of the birth of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the deity of Nikko Toshogu Shrine, we are very pleased to hold the opening ceremony of Geijutsu-no-Tora Exhibition at the Butokuden Hall, the seventh exhibition jointly organized by of Toshogu Shrine and Geibun Association, and we are sure that Ieyasu himself must be very pleased with this exhibition, named after his own Chinese zodiac sign “tiger”.

 Amid the unstable world climate, with the COVID-19 outbreak that shows no sign of abating, the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the missile launch by North Korea, the life of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was determined to realize and maintain peace in the land, is now the focus of much attention.

 I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all the artists who have gathered here today and contributed over 200 outstanding works to support the Geijutsu-no-Tora Exhibition, which is in keeping with Ieyasu’s vision of peace in the land. I am confident that their thoughtful works will soothe the hearts of many who view them.

 It is thanks to the understanding of artists at the forefront of the art world that we can promote such meaningful projects at the shrine. Please accept our sincere gratitude for your continued support. Again, I would like to express my gratitude to all artists who participated in this exhibition and wish everyone good health and success. Thank you very much indeed.


Mr. Nobutoshi Akao, Senior Advisor, Geibun Association

 I am Akao of General Incorporated Association GEIBUN-ASSOCIATION. I would like to say a few words on the occasion of the opening of Nikko Toshogu Shrine’s Geijutsu-no-Tora Exhibition. First of all, it is a great honour for us to co-sponsor this art exhibition with Nikko Toshogu Shrine again this year. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to Deputy Chief Priest Mr. Ichiro Yuzawa. I would also like to thank all the artists present today for exhibiting their works in this art exhibition and attending today’s opening ceremony, despite the fact that we are in the midst of the sixth wave of COVID-19. This exhibition was named Geijutsu-no-Tora Exhibition in honour of the year of the tiger, the 480th anniversary of the birth of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who advocated peace on earth and loved beauty. The artists are exhibiting their masterpieces as the “tigers of art” (Geijutsu-no-Tora).

 Please allow me to take this opportunity to briefly touch upon our relationship with Nikko Toshogu Shrine. It all started in the spring of 2013, when we rented the Reception Hall of Nikko Toshogu Shrine and held an art exhibition dedicated to the support of recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Since then, we have held various events and projects almost every year, including art exhibitions on the respective occasion of the 400th Anniversary of Passing-away of Tokugawa Ieyasu in 2015 and the transfer of his grave to Toshogu Shrine the following year, various interview articles for our quarterly magazine, Bunka Tenbo, and ceremonies for lending art works, dedicated by participating artists, to elementary and middle schools and social welfare facilities in Nikko City.

 For the past 22 years, Geibun Association has held art exhibitions in Japan and abroad, promoting mutual understanding through exchanges with artists from various countries, contributing to world peace, and promoting emotional education through the Children’s Art Session as its key activities. Although the Children’s Art Session was postponed due to the pandemic, selected children from all over Japan were invited to exhibit their works. We have conducted overseas exchanges in Thailand, Malaysia, Russia, Italy, Portugal, Lithuania, Hawaii and so on. Although we have refrained from organizing art exhibitions in foreign countries due to the pandemic of COVID-19 since our last exhibition in Sienna, Italy, in the fall of 2019, we are planning to organize an art exhibition in Bologna, Italy, later this month. We are also considering holding similar events in other countries, including in Thailand, in coming years, we would very much appreciate the continued cooperation of all the artists. Thank you for your kind attention.


Mr. Katsumoto Munakata, Advisor, Oriental Art, Geibun Association

 My name is Katsumoto Munataka, and I am the Advisor of Oriental Art of Geibun Association. As I mentioned earlier, I worked as Editor-in-chief of the calligraphy magazine “Sumi” for about 20 years and then as a reporter for the Art Annual’s New Art Newspaper’s editorial department for 10 years, visiting exhibitions and writing articles about the improvement of artworks.

 Speaking of the Geijutsu-no-Tora Exhibition, I am a Metal Tiger, and I turned 72 years old this year. I am surprised at how much I have aged, but thankfully I am now free to appreciate artworks and review them in the Bunka Tenbo, which I consider to be an important job for me. What I think I have grown most as I have aged is that I have gradually become able to look at each piece of artwork and appreciate it while at the same time having a conversation with it through my own mind’s eye, without any preconceived notions of what I am looking at.

 I enjoyed viewing many wonderful works today and am inspired to write a new critique of the exhibition. I would like to replay my memories of what I saw at the venue with Geibun Association and compose a piece while meditating on my state of mind.

 Once again, I am reminded that art has the power to enrich our lives. I think it is a very noble work that enriches the artist’s mind and the minds of those who appreciate and converse with it.

 I consider myself a truly fortunate person to be able to do something, albeit small, amid such art. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.


Mr. Fumitaka Ishikawa, Representative Director, Geibun Association

 My name is Ishikawa, and I am the Representative Director of Geibun Association. I would like to thank the many artists and accompanying guests for coming today. I would also like to thank the Governor of Tochigi Prefecture, the Mayor of Nikko, and the members of the House of Representatives and the Ibaraki Prefectural Assembly for their congratulatory telegrams.

 I would also like to express my deepest gratitude to Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Please also allow me to extend my sincere thanks to Mr. Nobutoshi Akao, our Senior Advisor, and Mr. Katsumoto Munakata, our Advisor of Oriental Art.

 This exhibition features over 200 works, including those by children, allowing visitors to view works by artists young and old. We greatly appreciate the cooperation of all the artists.


Remarks at Award Ceremony for Miki-no-Chikara Exhibition

Mr. Hisao Inaba, Chief Priest

 I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all of the artists who contributed to the Miki-no-Chikara Exhibition, an exhibition of commemorative sake celebrating the 480th anniversary of the birth of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the deity of our shrine, by creating and exhibiting thoughtful art labels for the sacred sake.

 Yesterday, the opening ceremony for Geijutsu-no-Tora Exhibition was held at the Butokuden Hall of Toshogu Shrine. Miki-no-Chikara Exhibition, which is being held in conjunction with Geijutsu-no-Tora Exhibition, is a unique project: It is a fusion of various genres of artwork using art labels for the sacred sake to open the way to a brighter future by combining the sacred sake and “Miki” (future), even though the whole world is feeling shattered these days by natural disasters and man-induced conflicts that surpass the pandemic. The sake, which was chosen as the sacred wine, is Otokoyama, by Otokoyama Co., Ltd. of Hokkaido, as was the case with the previous Miki-no-Chikara Exhibition. The Otokoyama brewery was originally very closely associated with our shrine. Otokoyama is said to have been called Gomen-shu by the Tokugawa Shogunate during the Edo period (1603-1867) and was very popular among the residents of Edo. Otokoyama is also said to be one of the few sake brands synonymous with sake. Considering the above, I had a feeling that there could have been no other sake suitable for the Miki-no-Chikara Exhibition other than Otokoyama. I am convinced that the twin exhibitions will impress many people as twin jewels commemorating the 48th anniversary of the birth of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the deity of the shrine, as they were realized by artists in attendance at this celebration and those who created art labels for the sacred sake in support of the project for the Miki-no-Chikara Exhibition.


Mr. Nobutoshi Akao, Senior Advisor, Geibun Association

 My name is Akao of Geijun Association. It is a great honour for us to dedicate works of art for the Miki-no-Chikara Exhibition, pray for world peace, and hold a gold cup awarding ceremony jointly with Nikko Toshogu Shrine. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to Chief Priest Mr. Hisao Inaba.

 I would also like to thank all the artists for their contribution to this exhibition and attendance at today’s ceremony, even though the sixth wave of COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over. I would also like to thank OTOKOYAMA Co. Ltd. for cooperating with us in making this exhibition possible. The relationship between Nikko Toshogu Shrine and Geibun Association in art and culture dates back to our art exhibition, held in 2013 in support of the recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Since then, five art exhibitions have been co-sponsored, and this is the seventh. The Miki-no-Chikara Exhibition is held on the 480th anniversary of the birth of Ieyasu and is inspired by his goal of peace on earth. I am sure that the artists who participated in this exhibition are also committed to world peace, and the Nikko Toshogu Shrine is very much in favour of this project. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the artists who participated in this project.

 Since its establishment in 2000, Geibun Association has been working for 22 years in Japan and abroad and has held art exhibitions in Thailand, Malaysia, Italy, Russia, Lithuania, Hawaii etc. to promote mutual understanding and friendship through exchanges between Japanese artists and the people of those countries. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to refrain from holding such art exhibitions overseas with the last one having been held in Siena in the fall of 2019. However, we are now preparing to hold such exhibition in Bologna, Italy, in late November this year. We are also considering holding exhibitions in Thailand and other places in the coming year and would be very grateful to you for your participation and cooperation.

 Chateau Mouton Rothschild, one of the five major wine makers in Bordeaux, France, is worldwide famous and reputable for its wine labels. Since the end of World War II in 1945, the company has used the art works of famous artists on its labels every year, including Picasso (1973), Chagall (1970) and Prince Charles (2004), together with Hisao Domoto (1979) and Setsuko (1991) among the Japanese.

 To commemorate the 150th anniversary of Japan-Portugal Amity and Commerce in 2010, Geibun Association organized a wine label exhibition, in partnership with one of the major Portuguese wine makers, as a part of our large-scale art exhibition. With the growing interest in Japanese food abroad, sake consumption and exports are expected to continue to increase in the future. I am sure that Japanese art has a role to play in such endeavour through art label of sake bottle. Thank you very much for your kind attention.

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