Susannh Was Taking Her Test, So I Went to a Museum

I decided to go to the Tokyo-Edo Museum, which is designed to show the evolution of the city of Tokyo from the Edo period (pre-western contact) to modern Tokyo. It is well-known for its life-size recreations of historic Japanese buildings and elaborate miniature recreations.

The museum begins with an enormous room with life-size recreations of the Nihonbashi Bridge, an Edo period kabuki theatre and an early 20th century newspaper office.

Walking across the bridge:IMG_0373

The view of the kabuki theatre from the bridge (those are real people, not miniatures):IMG_0375

A model recreation of what it would have looked like around the bridge in real life:IMG_0376

One of the great things about this museum is that it tends to focus on everyday life of Japanese citizens. There are a lot of reconstructions, and contemporary artifacts that give a great picture of life during this period. I especially liked the life-size recreations of period buildings.

This is the inside of a typical house (sorry for the darkness, flash wasn’t allowed):IMG_0387In the right corner, the bed and blankets are piled up behind a screen. On the left in the entrance are all of the cooking kitchen supplies. Bathrooms and toilets were all outdoor and communal, so most people only had a single room.

Here is a slightly better look at the kitchen/dining/entrance room:IMG_0388

Recreation of an Edo school (also a single room):IMG_0399The actors were really good, I looked for a long time and didn’t see them move once.

(That was a joke Mom)

What always comes to mind in relation to Edo Japan, are the famous woodblock prints (Ukiyo-e) that were a very popular commercial art all over the world. For example, Hokusai’s famous 36 views of Mt. Fuji (I didn’t take these 2 pictures, they’re just examples):

Red_Fuji_southern_wind_clear_morning    Great_Wave_off_Kanagawa2

There was an area dedicated specifically to their creation and distribution. The printing process:IMG_0401 And the finished product:IMG_0400

Here is a woodblock storefront as it would have looked in the Edo period:IMG_0406If you look closely, you can see slight variations in the paintings (for example, the sumo wrestlers’ clothes), that show how they would be mass produced.

There were lots of other great artifacts as well, including:IMG_0408 Printed, serialized novels (this is part of the story of the Hakkenden)

IMG_0414 Miniatures of the first department store (Mitsukoshi, still in business today).

IMG_0429And an instruction booklet of how kabuki actors should wear their hair.

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2 Responses to Susannh Was Taking Her Test, So I Went to a Museum

  1. Shanna Bryant says:

    Fantastic museum! And funny joke……


  2. deb92024 says:

    This is really interesting – if you stay in Japan we’ll have to visit again when all the museums aren’t closed 🙂


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