Tokyo Fuji Art Museum

“Until the peoples of the world develop a mutual understanding and respect for each other, there is no way we can expect to achieve a peaceful world.  It is the creation of art and music coming from the depths of our lives which expresses the rich spirit of a people or an age and communicates itself directly to the hearts of all.”

“It is my hearts desire that our Art Museums will serve as a place where all people can share in art as a crystallization of the creativity granted only to mankind.  I sincerely hope that Tokyo Fuji Art Museum will continue to offer new joy and enrichment to the hearts of the many people who visit it and that it will thus become an ‘oasis of the soul’.”

It was with this philosophy in mind, that in November 1983, SGI President Daiseku Ikeda founded the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum (TFAM) as “a museum creating bridges around the world”.

Situated in Hachioji City, near the Soka University, and just 40 minutes train journey, west from the centre of Tokyo, this arts and culture centre houses one of the most comprehensive collections of some 25, 000 Western and Eastern paintings, sculptures, porcelain, armour, swords and photographs.  In particular, the collection of Western masterpieces is one of the finest in Japan and includes works by Breughel, Rubens, Renoir, Monet, Chagall and Warhol.

The TFAM regularly sponsors special exhibitions encouraging inter-cultural understanding through art.  Since it’s foundation, exchanges and tours of collections have been carried out with 23 countries and regions, by means of nearly 300 displays and presentations. It has displayed the collections of the national museums of Sweden, Brazil, Bulgaria, and Turkey to name a few.

Emphasis is placed upon finding common cultural understanding within areas traditionally associated with conflict and division.  In April 2002, the museum hosted a travelling exhibition of unique artwork sent by the Simon Weisenthal Center, Museum of Tolerance – “Friedl And The Children of Terezin”.  This was an unprecedented exhibit of the artwork of artist and teacher, Freidl Dicker-Brandeis, and the students imprisoned with her at the Nazi’s Terezin concentration camp from 1942 – 44.  Around 15,000 children were held at this camp, only 100 are known to have survived.  The artwork they were encouraged to make by Friedl, ‘helped the children to express their fear, their defiance and their hope of survival, using methods that now have become the foundation of art therapy.’

More recently, a retrospective highlighting the life of Robert Capa (1913 – 1954) was held at the Mitsukoshi Museum of Art in central Tokyo.  The Showcase evolved out of the permanent collection of his work held at the TFAM.  Capa was the first photojournalist to successfully capture in the images of war, both the tenderness and indomitable nature of the human spirit.

Japanese heritage is also celebrated, this year, in an exploration of ‘The Four Seasons: Following the Flower’.  The curators note that “Flowers are one of the elements which alert Japanese people to the passing of the seasons….In Japan this natural pulse is seen both as an unending rhythm of life itself… and indeed the very roots of the Japanese soul”. The museum has a permanent collection of Japanese art treasures dating from the Momoyama (16th Century) to the Edo period (19th Century).

The TFAM forms a link with the SGI’s associated aims to promote Peace, Education and Culture by staging a series of “Lobby Concerts” performed by young musicians, and also publishing a number of Art reference books cataloguing and picturing elements of the collection which are available worldwide.

Sources:  www.artmediaresources.com

The Art of Living – September 2003

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