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It all started with an exhibition. At the time, the world was a seething mass of industrialization, colonization and globalization. Japan had newly been forced at cannon-point to open up its borders for trade, the British Empire covered vast swaths of the world, and the U.S. and European powers were rapidly following suit.

It is against this backdrop that we can trace the origins of the Tokyo National Museum, which is now marking its 150th year.

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