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KIZUNA: Japan | Wales | Design Exhibition at National Museum Cardiff

This summer National Museum Cardiff will host KIZUNA : Japan | Wales | Design, an exhibition displaying Japanese objects from the 1600s to the present day - many of which have never been seen before in the UK. This exhibition celebrates the kizuna - the bonds of friendship - between the two countries and outlines Wales' role in this special relationship.

Kizuna Museum of Wales Cardiff 2018

P-type coffee service, Masahiro Mori, 
National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Kawarazaki Gonjūrō as Watōnai
Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), 
National Museum Wales

Inro & netsuke,
National Museum of Japanese History, Chiba


Event Details

For centuries, Japan has had one of the world’s most exciting and refined design cultures. From cars and cameras to household items and animation, Japanese design has changed our world and is now part of our everyday lives. In this major new exhibition you’ll see how Japanese culture and design has captivated the rest of the world. You’ll also discover that Wales has played its own distinctive part in this fascinating story of international exchange. In Japanese, Kizunameans the bonds of friendship, which we celebrate in this exhibition.

Many of the works of art on display have come from major Japanese national museums especially for this exhibition and some have never been seen in the UK before.

  • A 400 year old handscroll painted with monsters is a forerunner of modern animation.
  • Magnificent painted screens, measuring more than 1.6m high by 3.6m long, offer panoramic views of Edo (modern Tokyo) in the 18th century.
  • Beautiful costumes, ceramic jars and lacquer ware show off Japan’s highly developed craft skills and love of beautiful materials.

Yet Europeans have been enjoying Japanese art and design since the 16th century. Four hundred years ago, Sir Thomas Myddleton of Chirk Castle, a founder member of the British East India Company, bought a stunning Japanese lacquered coffer (box or chest for valuables) – now one of the exhibition’s star items. Since then people from Wales and Japan continue to exchange their cultures and their expertise, and the relationship between Wales and Japan is very much alive today.

In Japan, historic and contemporary co-exist to produce a vibrant, unique design culture. In the exhibition you’ll experience the dynamic global appeal of Japanese contemporary culture, alongside beautiful examples of historic art and design.

The exhibition has been organized jointly by National Museum Cardiff, the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan, and the National Museum of Japanese History with special cooperation from the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. International air transport provided by All Nippon Airways.