In the central part of the second floor, the museum organizes special exhibitions three times a year. Themes are taken from both Japanese folk art (mingei) and archaeological fields.
● Unpacking Japanese Food Boxes April 10 (Tue.) - July 6 (Fri.), 2018
Bentōbako (弁当箱) or bentō (弁当) are lunch boxes or food boxes in Japanese, referring to portable food containers used outdoors. The Yuasa Museum houses a variety of these food containers, ranging from small lunch boxes for one person, to larger and more elaborate ones used for Japanese seasonal activities such as cherry blossom and maple leaves viewing, moonlight parties as well as for theatergoing. Especially sagejū, the wooden and lacquered portable food boxes intended to carry small dishes, sake bottles and stacked food boxes, were used for these occasions. They became very popular during the mid-Edo period. Not only are they beautifully decorated, but also display a rich variety of shapes, designs, and storage and nesting systems. These items are usually made light, stackable and packable, easy to be carried home after use.
We have selected seventy-five items from the museum collection, mainly from the Taisho to Meiji periods, but some date back to the Edo period. Also on display are sake utensils, other portable items, and ukiyo-e prints depicting people partying using lunch and food boxes. Many of the exhibited items are no longer popular today, but we hope that you will enjoy the variety of form and design, and the ingenuity packed in these vessels and utensils.
● Bicentennial Anniversary of the Birth of Matsuura Takeshirō The One-Mat Room at ICU
September 11 (Tue.) - November 9 (Fri.), 2018
MatsuuraTakeshirō (1818–1888) traveled throughout Japan during the late Tokugawa and early Meiji years. He is known as the man who named Hokkaido. The One-Mat Room was a small study built in 1886 as a lean-to addition to Takeshirō’s house in Kanda Gokenchō. It was constructed with old pieces of wood from famous temples and shrines, solicited from friends whom Takeshirō had met during his travels. It was designed to celebrate his upcoming seventieth year. As its name suggests, it is a small room consisting of just one mat surrounded by a wooden border. The room, complete with tokonoma alcove, built-in bookcase and kamidana (Shinto altar shelf), was constructed using some ninety historic pieces of wood, the oldest dating back to the Hakuhō period (645–710). After Takeshirō’s death, the ownership of the One-Mat Room changed from one person to another, moving to Azabu, Yoyogi-Uehara and finally to Mitaka. As a part of the Taizansō, a complex of buildings and gardens designated as Tangible Cultural Properties in 1999, the One-Mat Room is now preserved on the ICU campus. The Museum’s fall special exhibition commemorates the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of Matsuura Takeshirō and focuses on this unique private study that has survived the vicissitudes of time.