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The Beauty of AINU Handiwork

From the Collections of Yanagi Soetsu and Serizawa Keisuke

The thinker and the Mingei (folk crafts) Movement founder Yanagi Soetsu (formally Yanagi Muneyoshi, 1889-1961) focused on the Ainu culture because of the natural beauty of everyday things used in their lives. In the fall of 1941 an “Ainu Craft Culture Exhibition” was held at the Japan Folk Crafts Museum in Tokyo, five years after its founding, where he was the director. The selection and display of the exhibits was entrusted to Serizawa Keisuke (1895-1984), a dye artist who greatly respected Yanagi. Serizawa introduced 600 items such as dyeing, weaving, and woodcraft. This was the first exhibition to approach the figurative beauty of Ainu handicrafts from an aesthetic perspective.

Yanagi also wanted to introduce this amazing culture through their handicrafts, featuring it in the magazine “KOGEI” (The Ainu Edition / Nos. 106 & 107). In these editions, the figurative shaping of the world observed in Ainu handicrafts was highly valued, “not only for its beauty, but also for its fine, even mysterious, sense of the ingenious power of creation”.

Unfortunately, much of the Ainu collection exhibited at the “Ainu Craft Culture Exhibition” (The Sugiyama Sueo Collection) was turned into ash as a result of the war. Having been attracted to the beauty of the Ainu, Yanagi Soetsu and Serizawa Keisuke collected a large number of Ainu items which have now been passed on to the Japan Folk Crafts Museum and the Shizuoka City Serizawa Keisuke Art Museum.

In this exhibition, about 250 items, centered around the collections gathered under the appreciative gazes of Yanagi Soetu and Serizawa Keisuke, will be displayed and their essential beauty introduced.



25th January (Sat.) - 15th March (Sun.), 2020

Opening Hours

 9 : 30 a.m. – 5 : 00 p.m. * Ticket counter closes at 16:30


Monday (except 24th February) and 25th February

Admission tax included

Adults: 1,000 yen
Students: 800 yen
Elementary / Junior high school / high school students: 500 yen

Advance ticket and Group ticket prices

Adults: 800 yen
Students: 600 yen
Elementary / Junior high school / High school students: 300 yen

Advance ticket Information

[Advance ticket sales place]:
Ticket counter of The Miyagi Museum of Art

[Advance ticket sales period]:
30th November (Sat.) - 15th December (Sun.), 2019
22nd January (Wed.) - 24th January (Fri.), 2020

Organized by

The Miyagi Museum of Art, The Foundation for Ainu Culture

With the special cooperation of

The Japan Folk Crafts Museum, Shizuoka City Keisuke Art Museum

With The Support of

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Hokkaido Board of Education, Ainu Association of Hokkaido, Sendai City Board of Education, KAHOKU SHIMPO PUBLISHING CO., Japan Broadcasting Corporation Sendai station, TOHOKU BROADCASTING CO LTD, Sendai Television Incorporated, Miyagi Television Broadcasting, HIGASHI NIPPON BROADCASTING Co., Ltd., Sendai FM BROADCASTING, INC.


木綿衣 日本民藝館

The Japan Folk Crafts Museum

煙草入 静岡市立芹沢銈介美術館蔵

Tabacco container *
Shizuoka City Serizawa Keisuke Museum

*Photo/Murabayashi Chikako