TSUMUGU Project Promoting, Restoring and Preserving the Beauty of Japan’s Art

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What’s “TSUMUGU”?

The TSUMUGU Project was initiated by Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs, Imperial Household Agency and The Yomiuri Shimbun (Tokyo) as a joint effort to promote the beauty of Japanese art across the nation and abroad. The web portal you are viewing was launched in August 2019 as an essential part of this project.

Giving special attention to Japan’s national treasures, important cultural properties and excellent artwork associated with the Imperial Household, the two government agencies and leading national newspaper in 2018 agreed on a comprehensive plan to establish a virtuous cycle of “promoting, restoring and preserving” the nation’s precious legacies. Subsequently, the TSUMUGU Project was set up to implement the plan.

Tsumugu is a Japanese verb used in sericulture to mean “weave” or “spin.” Here, we use it to mean “weaving beauty,” to convey the idea that by implementing the plan, Japan’s artistic beauty can surely be handed down to future generations.

To be more specific, the project will continue to promote Japan’s fine arts by organizing special exhibitions and other events, while using part of the proceeds from these events and contributions from sponsors to help restore/repair cultural properties. The web portal will serve as a site where high-definition images of excellent artwork are archived, as well as a hub where useful information related to Japanese art and culture can be easily accessed.

The project officially and successfully kicked off in March 2019 with the grand opening of the special exhibition “Cultural Exchanges of the Emperor and Empress: Sharing the Beauty of Japan” at the Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park, Tokyo). Another special exhibition, the “Masterpieces of Japanese Art: From Sesshu and Eitoku to Korin and Hokusai,” opened in May. On March 28, a forum discussion to commemorate the initiation of the project was held at the Yomiuri Otemachi Hall in Tokyo with the attendance of Commissioner for Cultural Affairs Ryohei Miyata.

Repair work under the TSUMUGU Project is already underway for “Raigo of Amida (Amitabha) and Twenty-five Attendants,” a 14th-century hanging scroll owned by Chion-in Temple in Kyoto.

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Chronology

2018

Nov. 29

The Agency for Cultural Affairs and The Yomiuri Shimbun announce the launch of the Tsumugu Project

2019

Feb. 20

A selection committee of experts determines eight cultural assets to be repaired under the Tsumugu Project

March 3

Two Tsumugu Project special exhibitions are selected to be held as part of the Nihonhaku (Japan Cultural Expo)

March 4

A ceremony to celebrate the launch of the Tsumugu Project is held in Tokyo

March 5

Special Exhibition “Cultural Exchanges of the Emperor and Empress: Sharing the Beauty of Japan” opens at the Tokyo National Museum (-April 29)

March 13

Emperor and Empress (current Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita) view the first special exhibition

March 31

Prime Minister Abe views the special exhibition

April 11

Repair work of “Raigo of Amida (Amitabha) and Twenty-five Attendants,” a 14th-century hanging scroll owned by Chion-in Temple in Kyoto, starts

April 15

Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko (current Crown prince and Crown princess) view the special exhibition with their two daughters Princess Mako and Princess Kako

April 24

Crown prince and Crown princess (current Emperor and Empress) view the special exhibition

May 3

Special Exhibition “Masterpieces of Japanese Art: From Sesshu and Eitoku to Korin and Hokusai” opens at the Tokyo National Museum (-June 2)

Aug 20

TSUMUGU : Japan Art & Culture web portal kicks off

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