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Weavers of Worlds — A Century of Flux in Japanese Modern / Contemporary Art —

Weavers of Worlds — A Century of Flux in Japanese Modern / Contemporary Art —

In a nutshell

This exhibition commemorates the reopening of the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT) and uses the occasion to present a survey of Japanese art of the last 100 years. Different elements of life in Japan across the years are “woven” into this exhibition of artwork. Beginning with 1914 through today, the artwork, mostly paintings, are grouped chronologically, using events such as the Great Kanto Earthquake and World War II, and a variety of artistic themes (light, words, universality) to group works by chapter. The exhibition also includes artwork relating to the Kiba district where the museum is located, highlighting the dramatic changes the area has witnessed in the last 100 years.

The venue

MOT, the largest modern/contemporary art museum in Japan, recently re-opened after three years of renovations. There are five floors of exhibition space, three of which are used for temporary exhibitions and two for “MOT Collection” exhibitions.

English? (labels/audio guides/handouts)

The chapter information is in English, both as wall text and included in the handout, which serves as a partial list of works and a floor map. The Japanese pages of the MOT website are more comprehensive than the English pages. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, consider using a translation browser extension for the Japanese pages.


Photos are allowed in two rooms of the exhibition. There are small signs in the galleries and an OK sign on the English language handout.

The feels

The exhibition is dense - a lot to see, a lot to read, a lot to process. It is a bit overwhelming but a great opportunity to experience a wide swath of Japan’s more recent art.


Because this exhibition includes so many pieces and spans such a lengthy amount of time, there is something for almost any art lover.

How far out?

A 10-15 minute walk from Kiyosumi Shirakawa Station (Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line exit B2 or Toei Subway Oedo Line exit A3), Kiba Station (Tokyo Metro Tozai Line exit 3), or Kikugawa Station (Toei Subway Shinjuku Line exit A4).

How much time?

A good hour and a half.

How much money?

¥1,300 for general admission.

Until when?

June 16, 2019

Rating: make a special trip, see it if you’re in the area or have some free time, see it only if you like this specific type of art

Worth a special trip to see this beautiful museum and to enjoy contemporary Japanese art.



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