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Attracted to Japanese paintings like those of artist Katsushika Hokusai? Curious about ancient techniques for wooden architecture or the works of famous modern architects such as Kenzo Tange and Kengo Kuma?

The Japan Cultural Expo, a series of art and cultural programs across Japan, will go into full gear this year. It offers opportunities for lovers of Japanese culture to learn and embrace both traditional and contemporary arts, such as cultural assets, performing arts, media arts and music, as well as food and lifestyles that have developed in Japan over the past 10,000 years, beginning with the prehistoric Jomon Period.

Leading up to the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, the expo began in 2019 under the theme “Humanity and Nature in Japan,” and will continue beyond 2020. Its programs are intended to inspire and share with visitors how nature has cultivated creativity in Japan.

“We have never had a chance to show Japanese art and culture to the world in such a diverse and multilayered way on a massive scale. Aside from making these multilingual, we would like to create and offer more and more experience-based programs,” said Yumi Ennyu, director general of the Japan Cultural Expo.

Co-sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the Japan Arts Council, the expo features art works across different genres, including pottery, ukiyo-e paintings, kimono, anime and performing arts, such as kabuki and bunraku. Various workshops from sword making to playing traditional musical instruments will also be available.

This comprehensive expo will also explore the arts in the context of an inclusive society, living with other cultures and recovery from natural disasters.

Many programs of the expo will also be held outside Tokyo.

Some of the major programs scheduled for this year are outlined here. However, some exhibitions are temporarily closed in March due to the coronavirus outbreak. Please contact each museum to confirm the schedule.

Download the PDF of this Japan Cultural Expo Special