In most of the great European capitals, wide, impressive rivers flow through the very heart of the cities, providing the perfect setting for stately buildings such as the Houses of Parliament in London or the Orsay Museum in Paris.

By contrast, Tokyo’s main river, the Sumida, follows a rather more furtive route through unfashionable neighborhoods and rundown industrial districts on its unheralded way to the sea. It’s almost as if the city was somehow ashamed of its main waterway. The present exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, attempts to make amends with an extensive exhibition of prints, paintings, photographs and realia, paying tribute to the river’s important role in the city in modern times.

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