Reopening of the Japanese Galleries, British Museum

Written by Claire Messenger, ITP Manager

In October the British Museum re-opened the Japanese Galleries, (Rooms 92–94).  Supported by the Mitsubishi Corporation the beautiful new galleries explore the history of Japan from 5000 BC to the present day.

The new displays of some 430 objects look at how continuity and change have shaped Japan’s past and present, and the country’s relationships with the rest of the world.


Objects in the new gallery range from ancient flame pots, through samurai armour, to contemporary manga and look to present the lives of both emperors and of ordinary townspeople.

Japan_1Our Director, Hartwig Fischer, said: “The British Museum has one of the most comprehensive collections of Japanese art and objects outside Japan and we actively collect contemporary and modern works. These newly refurbished galleries will now allow for a deeper understanding of a fascinating culture and an important country, and ensure the displays remain lively and engaging, attracting repeat visitors. We are hugely grateful to Mitsubishi Corporation for the opportunity to carry out these improvements.”


Congratulations to the BM teams who have been working on this project and we’ll look forward to the new displays being part of the ITP Summer Programme 2019 and getting feedback from next summer’s fellows.

Finally, do read the fascinating articles on the BM blog where organics Conservator Tania Desloge talks about the conservation work undertaken on the newly acquired set of samurai armour and Tim Clark, Head of the Japanese section in the Department of Asia, tells the story of the discovery of a previously unknown painting by Japanese artist Kitagawa Utamaro.