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Osaka swims with aquatic exhibitions

by Eriko Arita

Eight museums run by the city of Osaka are displaying exhibits related to water this week, as part of the “Museum Weeks Osaka 2009″ campaign.

The city is also in the midst of “Aqua Metropolis Osaka 2009,” a festival on the waterfront, and the museums are exhibiting art works featuring everything from waterways to animals until Oct. 8.

The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, will feature “Dish with Design of Korai Bridge,” which was made in the Meiji Era (1868-1911). The bridge over Higashi Yokobori River depicted on the dish was among the official bridges controlled by the Tokugawa shogunate during the Edo Period (1603-1867).

The museum will also feature a panel screen entitled “Boating scene at Sonezaki in Naniwa” (until Sept. 27).

At Osaka Castle, visitors can see a folding screen with a picture of Yodo River in Osaka. The picture of the folding screen, created by an unknown artist in the early Edo Period, shows the vitality of the city through this waterway.

The Osaka Museum of Natural History will feature a specimen of fish called ryugunotsukai, which means “messenger from the dragon’s palace.” The 3-meter-long fish was caught in the sea off Osaka in 1954 although it usually inhabits the deep waters of the western Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean.

The Osaka Museum of History is displaying a folding screen entitled kawaguchiyurizubyobu, meaning “the folding screen of the red-light district nearby the mouth of a river in Osaka.” The picture was drawn by an unknown artist in the Edo Period, who aimed to depict the energy at the city’s seaport.

In addition to museums mentioned above, the Osaka Science Museum, the Osaka Municipal Museum of Art and the Osaka City Museum of Modern Art are also holding special exhibitions with water themes. Three hippopotamuses (Tetsuo, Natsuko and Tina) will also entertain families at the Tennoji Zoo.

“Museum Weeks Osaka 2009″ will run until Oct. 8. For more information, call (06) 4301-7285 or visit www.city.osaka.lg.jp/yutoritomidori/page/0000046863.html