Japan Tokyo Shimokitazawa

Japan Folk Crafts Museum

A cornerstone of Mingei philosophy, showcasing Japan’s hand-crafted art of ordinary people.

Photo of Japan Folk Crafts Museum, Japan (Nihon Mingeikan(Komaba,Meguro,Tokyo) 目黒区駒場にある日本民藝館 by Kamemaru2000)

The Japan Folk Crafts Museum, or Nihon Mingeikan, is a symbol of Japan’s cultural heritage, founded in 1936 by Yanagi Soetsu to celebrate the artistry of ordinary people. With over 17,000 Mingei works in a variety of mediums, it reflects Japan’s rich folk traditions and the aesthetic sensibilities of its people. Situated in Tokyo’s Komaba district, the museum is a leading advocate for the beauty of everyday crafts.

About Japan Folk Crafts Museum

Yanagi Soetsu, an art critic and the founder of the Mingei movement, established the museum to honor the craftsmanship of anonymous artisans. His appreciation for Korean white porcelain and subsequent advocacy for Korean arts, despite Japan’s colonial policies, was a significant cultural stance. The museum, which opened on October 24, 1936, in Meguro, Tokyo, was a direct result of Yanagi’s dedication to these crafts after his offer to donate his collection to the Imperial Museums was rejected.

The museum’s architecture, designed by Yoshirō Taniguchi, embodies the Mingei ethos, blending traditional and modern elements and featuring a stone-roofed gate-cum-residence from Tochigi Prefecture. The tranquil garden enhances the contemplative experience within.

Highlighting the daily lives and skills of Japanese people throughout history, the museum’s collection includes ceramics, textiles, lacquerware, woodwork, and metalwork. It features notable Korean ceramics, Ōtsu-e paintings, and works by Mingei movement artists like Hamada Shoji, Kanjiro Kawai, Bernard Leach, Serizawa Keisuke, and Munakata Shiko.

As a center for research and education, the museum organizes special exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and cultural events. The museum shop offers publications and contemporary folk craft items. Visitors are encouraged to view the artifacts in the exhibition galleries with minimal explanatory text, in accordance with Yanagi’s philosophy.

The museum is a vital part of the Komaba community and continues to uphold Yanagi Soetsu’s legacy.

Getting There the easiest way to reach Japan Folk Crafts Museum

OH 06

Higashi-Kitazawa
 Odakyū Odawara Line

 10-20 minute walk (1.0km)
C 01

Yoyogi-Uehara
 Chiyoda Line + 1 more

 10-20 minute walk (1.2km)

Around Japan Folk Crafts Museum

Japan Folk Crafts Museum

Art Museum in Tokyo

open 10am - 4:30pm
closed Monday, unless a holiday (and other days)

Address

日本民藝館, 東京

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Updated 21 Feb 2024 • Report an error

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