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Sisi stars in new exhibition

by Tomoko Otake

Staff Writer

More than a century after her death, Austria’s Empress Elisabeth (1837-1898) has built a big fan base in Japan.

The tragic beauty with an unwavering quest for love and freedom, and her luxurious lifestyle, continue to resonate with many Japanese (mostly women) who are familiar with her story through local productions of musicals themed on her turbulent life.

Visitors to the upcoming exhibition “Kagayakeru Kohi — Erizabeto Ten (The Radiant Empress — Elisabeth)” in Tokyo are bound to be joined by such passionate fans of “Sisi,” as the late empress was popularly called in her lifetime.

For the exhibition, which premiered in Fukuoka in April and is touring nationwide through next year, 120 personal items of Elisabeth’s will be on display. Included is a collection of her extravagant jewelry such as bracelets and brooches, as well as furniture, dinnerware and painted portraits of the woman herself. A beads-and-spangle-studded black corset used by the dieting-obsessed empress, as well as a travel watch she carried as she wandered across Europe, will also be exhibited. In addition, her signature accessory — a 4 cm-by-2 cm star-shaped, diamond-studded hair pin, will be shown in Japan for the first time.

“The Radiant Empress — Elisabeth” will run Aug. 8-20 at the 7th gallery of the Nihonbashi main branch of Mitsukoshi department store. Admission is ¥1,000 for adults and college students and ¥800 for high school students. For details, visit www.mitsukoshi.co.jp/store/1010/elisabeth.


The Japan Times is giving away five pairs of tickets to “The Radiant Empress — Elisabeth” to our readers. To enter, send a postcard with your name, address and telephone number to Ticket Giveaway, Gakugeibu, The Japan Times, 4-5-4 Shibaura, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023, or apply online at jtimes.jp/exhibition.