The ancient Greek poet Ovid wrote that how we play reveals the kind of people we are. One wonders how he would have viewed the Japanese in days of old, who turned play into an art form.

"Styles of Play: The History of Merrymaking in Art" at the Suntory Museum of Art delves into various amusements, with exhibits ranging from the Muromachi Period (1392-1573) to the Edo Period (1603-1868). It brings together over 100 exhibits, including paintings and other artworks depicting the entertainments of the day, as well as some original objects that were used for play.

People enjoying different types of recreation throughout the year was a popular theme of the classic Yamato-e style of Japanese painting. "Customs Month by Month," an Edo Period six-panel folding screen, for example, includes scenes of people enjoying cherry blossoms in spring, and dancing at a summer festival.