Exhibits

The information about exhibits, provided in this calendar, is intended to introduce Japan-related events in the Greater Boston, and New England area.

For all non-JSB-organized exhibits please check directly with the organization producing it to confirm all times, dates and event details. The Japan Society of Boston is not responsible for any changes or inaccuracies in information about events not sponsored by the JSB.

For information about special events, check out our All Events page.

Upcoming events

    • 13 Sep 2017
    • 02 Sep 2018
    • Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA 01609

    Nagasone Tojiro Mitsumasa, Helmet in the form of a Sea Conch Shell

    Last Defense: The Genius of Japanese Meiji Metalwork

    September 13, 2017 – September 2, 2018

    Worcester Art Museum
    55 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA 01609


    In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration (1868-1912), the political revolution when power was restored to the emperor from the samurai class, this exhibition focuses on the genius and versatility of metalworkers during this transitional moment. With the decline of the samurai class and its privileges, armor-makers, such as the renowned four centuries-old Myochin family of metalworkers, applied their exemplary skills and artistry to develop new types of metal products, from toys to decorative art. This show will feature magnificent works from the Museum's Higgins collection, as well as a special selection of loans.

    Top image: Nagasone Tojiro Mitsumasa, Helmet in the form of a Sea Conch Shell, 1618, iron with traces of lacquer, textiles, The John Woodman Higgins Armory Collection, 2014.89.1

    • 02 Feb 2018
    • 26 Aug 2018
    • Smith College Museum of Art, 20 Elm St, Northampton, MA 01063

    体 Modern Images of the Body from East Asia

    Smith College Museum of Art
    20 Elm St, Northampton, MA 01063
    February 2 - August 26, 2018

    体 is a character and concept commonly used in East Asian languages (traditional Chinese: 體; Japanese Hiragana: からだ or たい; Korean Hangul: 체). It refers to the material existence of a person, as seen in compound words such as 身体 (human body) and 体格 (physique). In an abstract sense, it also connotes substance, form, and organizing principles, as seen in compound words such as 体系 (system) and 国体 (national polity).

    Using this character as a point of departure, this exhibition looks at the multifaceted representations of the body in East Asia from the nineteenth century to the present. In this period, the region became more enmeshed in the worldwide circulation of things and ideas, and paradoxically, the personal and the collective both found very strong expressions in society. The exhibition explores modern and contemporary portrayals of physical appearances in East Asia, and particularly how these bodily images have come to symbolize identities, reflect socio-political changes, serve as vehicles for artistic expression, and challenge preconceived notions of humankind.

    The art works, ranging widely in media and culture, are mostly drawn from the Smith College Museum of Art’s collection. The exhibition thereby has evolved around but also brings visibility to a significant section of the museum’s holdings, which corresponds to the college’s global and multidisciplinary curriculum. It opens up inquiries into issues including colonial history and Orientalism, global exchange of material and knowledge, rise of nation-states, myths and spectacles, body politics, and biological and technological evolutions.

    Museum Hours
    Tuesday–Saturday 10–4
    Thursday 10–8
    Sunday 12–4
    Second Friday 10–8

    • 02 Mar 2018
    • 30 Sep 2018
    • Boston Children's Museum, 308 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210

    Japanese House Gallery Exhibit: “HOME”

    Boston Children's Museum
    308 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210
    Friday, March 2 – Sunday, September 30, 2018

    “HOME” is an exhibit that explores the meaning and influence of home from the perspective of Japanese students. The exhibit will showcase artwork created by the students of the “Art Thinking” project team at Tohoku University of Art & Design (TUAD) in Japan. This is their sixth annual international friendship project bringing their art exhibition and hands-on activity programs to Boston.

    Using the theme home, the artists encourage Museum visitors to explore how home shapes identity, a sense of belonging, and responsibility toward others. This gallery exhibition asks the visitors “What is the definition of home to you?” and “What makes your home special?” In this gallery exhibition, located next to the Museum’s Japanese House exhibit, an authentic 100-year old house from Kyoto, Japan, the artworks share the ideas of today’s multifaceted youth culture of Japan, and demonstrate each individual’s thoughts and narratives.

    Akemi Chayama, the Museum’s Japan Program Manager said, “Creating a space of such experience for our visitors is important to understanding Japan today, especially in a historic house exhibit like the Japanese House which tends to heavily present more traditional cultural elements. The exhibit will expose our visitors to the complexity of how various identities develop within a culture today.”

    The Art Thinking project is part of TUAD’s school curricula and research to create a space for community building through art experience. Artists in this show are students from the Tohoku region of Japan, where many of them witnessed and experienced the loss of homes and hometowns during the earthquake and tsunami of 2011. Through the art, these students search for the meaning of home and welcome Museum visitors to share ideas.

    • 31 Mar 2018
    • 30 Dec 2018
    • Peabody Essex Museum, East India Square, 161 Essex Street, Salem, MA 01970

    Japanomania! Japanese Art Goes Global

    March 31, 2018 – December 30, 2018

    Peabody Essex Museum

    East India Square, 161 Essex Street, Salem, MA 01970

    Discover the beauty and complex stories behind PEM’s celebrated Japanese export art collection. The new installation takes visitors on a journey through time — from the arrival of Portuguese merchants in the 1500s through Japan’s emergence on the world stage in the late 19th century and beyond. Throughout, the story is punctuated with stunning works of art, including extraordinary loans from a private collection and many objects on view for the first time since PEM’s 2016 exhibition Asia in Amsterdam.

    Japanomania! Japanese Art Goes Global is made possible by the generous support of an anonymous donor, the late Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland and The Lee and Juliet Folger Fund.

    Image credit: Sanrio Company, Ltd., Hello Kitty rotary telephone, 1980s. Plastic, metal and electrical components. Museum purchase. 2018.4.1. Artists in Arita, Japan, Incense holder, about 1690. Porcelain and lacquered silver. Gift of the estate of Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland, 2001. AE85878.A. Photo by Kathy Tarantola/PEM.

    • 06 May 2018
    • 02 Sep 2018
    • The Art Complex Museum, 189 Alden Street, Duxbury, MA 02331

    Rengetsu:
    Buddhist Nun and Artist

    The Art Complex Museum
    189 Alden Street, Duxbury, MA 02331

    May 6 - September 2, 2018

    "Rengetsu: Buddhist Nun and Artist,” at The Art Complex Museum until September, is among the works by women that, according to members of the museum’s Collection Department, both demand respect and inspire contemplation. Otagaki Rengetsu, who lived from 1791 until 1875, was a Japanese artist who, says staff member, Kyle Turner, “defied artistic and cultural traditions and whose achievements have had a lasting impact.”

    Her earlier life was marked by tragedy which included the deaths of two husbands, five children, and her adoptive parents. At the age of forty-one, she was alone and became a Buddhist nun. It was then that she took the name of Rengetsu which means Lotus Moon.

    In order to support herself and also as a way of meditation, Rengetsu began making ceramics. Despite the fact that at the time this was primarily a male occupation, her work met with immediate success.  It stood out when compared to the highly polished pieces then being made. And it appealed to the common people. 

    Mostly self-taught, her work, when first viewed, can seem unassuming but there is also a sense of intimacy especially when one discovers the indentations from her fingertips. Rengetsu composed poetry which she inscribed onto her forms using her own distinct calligraphy.

    In the end, her work is said to have been found in every household in Kyoto. In order to meet the demand, it was necessary for her to turn to assistants for help. Even today, her work is imitated. The authenticated pieces in the museum’s collection contain her mark and demonstrate her very individual style.

    • 01 Jun 2018
    • 31 Aug 2018
    • The Art Complex Museum, 189 Alden Street, Duxbury, MA 02331

    Beauty of Earth and Fire

    Summer, 2018

    The Art Complex Museum
    189 Alden Street, Duxbury, MA 02331


    "Beauty of Earth and Fire” is a small exhibit featuring an impressive selection of Showa period (1926-1989) Bizen ware from The Art Complex Museum’s permanent collection. Bizen ware is a type of Japanese pottery that is indigenous to Bizen province. It is characterized by its dark grey stoneware body that generally fires to brick-red, brown, or deep bronze color. Bizen is fired for a long period in the kiln without glaze, creating subtle gradations in distinctive coloring.

    The exhibit will be displayed in the museum’s entry case in the lobby as well as in the museum’s Carl A. Weyerhaeuser Library throughout the summer.

    • 02 Jun 2018
    • 28 Oct 2018
    • Fuller Craft Museum, 455 Oak Street, Brockton, MA 02301

    White Donabe Pot Photo Credit Joanne Rathe Strohmeyer

    Objects of Use and Beauty: Design and Craft in Japanese Culinary Tools

    Fuller Craft Museum
    455 Oak Street, Brockton, MA 02301

    June 2, 2018 - October 28, 2018

    Museum Hours:
    Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Thursday 5:00 – 9:00 pm

    Reception and Lecture June 3, 2018, 2:00 – 5:00 pm

    Japanese tools for the kitchen are admired as objects of beauty. They are also practical, functioning utensils for the preparation of food. Dedicated craftspeople design and produce them in materials ranging from metal and wood to stone, bamboo, reeds, grasses, ceramic, silicone, fiberglass, and plastic. These tools reflect their makers’ art, as well as the functions each object serves: producing and serving foods desired for their taste and beauty around the world. In Japan, food is a multisensory experience: me de taberu or “eat with your eyes,” as the saying goes. Aesthetic pleasure, too, applies to the tools that produce it. This “beauty in use”—yō no bi—inspires Objects of Use and Beauty: Design and Craft in Japanese Culinary Tools.

    This exhibition at Fuller Craft Museum gathers items diverse in design and function, organized around their uses in professional and domestic kitchens. The aim is to celebrate the artistry of these works; to inspire curiosity; and, for those unfamiliar, to provide points of connection with these versatile wares. For what chef—Japanese or otherwise—could not enjoy the feel of a perfectly weighted knife, the warmth of a wood rice paddle, the glint of light off a hammered pot, and the textures and tastes of foods cut, sieved, grated, or simmered with such utensils?

    Objects of Use and Beauty: Design and Craft in Japanese Culinary Tools will demonstrate the beauty of design and use in Japanese cooking and reveal the artistry of craftsmanship in such tools as knives, whisks, ceramic, and other important items. Videos of craftspeople at work will be included, as well as the tools themselves and narratives of their use. In addition, there will be there will be a look into a contemporary home kitchen and culinary demonstration videos. The exhibition is complemented by an exquisite exhibition catalogue of the same title.

    About the Curators:
    Debra Samuels and Merry White have each spent several decades of their lives living in or visiting Japan. Debra Samuels has been visiting Japan since 1972 and each time absorbs more of local culinary culture, practice, and pleasures. She has collected her experiences and recipes in her cookbook, My Japanese Table, published by Tuttle Press in 2011, helping many outside Japan to enjoy the simple and surprisingly accessible foods that reflect her relationships and experiences of Japanese culinary culture. The people with whom she cooked have become her family over these years of learning and eating. Now she teaches about Japanese food and culture in Europe and America. Debra is lead curriculum developer in a new project called Wa-Shokuiku, a seven-week, hands-on course for elementary through middle school, focusing on Japanese cuisine, culture, and nutrition.

    Merry White has been visiting Japan since 1963, when, as a young student, she fell in love with Japanese food and began her collection of objects related to food. After some years as a caterer and cookbook writer, she began graduate work in Japanese studies at Harvard University and is now professor of anthropology at Boston University, specializing in Japan and food. She has received an Imperial Honor, The Order of the Rising Sun, from the Japanese government. She has written several books on Japanese families, women, and Japanese education, and her most recent book, Coffee Life in Japan, chronicles Japan’s two centuries of obsession with coffee and its cafes, revealing some of the stories of craft also heard in Japan’s food culture. Her current research is on Japanese food workers—artisanal, domestic and industrial.


    Sponsored by the Caroline R. Graboys Fund, the Japan World Exposition 1970 Commemorative Fund, and The Japan Foundation, New York.


    White Donabe Pot   Photo Credit: Joanne Rathe Strohmeyer

    • 11 Aug 2018
    • 31 Oct 2018
    • The Emerald Necklace, Boston, MA 02130

    Fog x FLO: Fujiko Nakaya on the Emerald Necklace

    Saturday, August 11 - Wednesday, October 31, 2018

    The Emerald Necklace, Boston, MA 02130

    The Conservancy welcomes to Boston and Brookline Fujiko Nakaya’s first extended citywide exhibition of multiple “fog sculptures,” marking her five decade career with works at five sites along the historic urban parks that link more than a dozen neighborhoods, and provide a natural, recreational and cultural conduit for the community. Created in response to the landmarked waterways and landscapes designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (FLO), Nakaya’s “climate responsive” shape-shifting, pure water forms invite visitors to immerse themselves in the art, experience nature anew, and appreciate the vital role of the Emerald Necklace in the city’s history, present, and future.

    Organized by the Conservancy with curator Jen Mergel, this free public art presentation is on view every day, hourly from dawn to dusk, from August 11 through October 31 at these locations

    Nakaya calls fog  “the most generous medium” and has collaborated for decades with artists, musicians, designers and more to transform her fog sculptures to “fog performances.”

    Visitors to the Shattuck Visitor Center (on the Back Bay Fens at 125 The Fenway, near the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and Northeastern University) will be able to learn more about Fog x FLO, Nakaya, Olmsted, and the history of the Emerald Necklace, the Conservancy, and more.

    Organizers and Sponsors

    Fog x FLO: Fujiko Nakaya on the Emerald Necklace and other 20th Anniversary programs are organized by the Emerald Necklace Conservancy in partnership with the City of Boston, Town of Brookline Parks and Open Space Division, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. Presentation is made possible with the generous support of Barbara and Amos Hostetter, High Meadows Foundation, Fotene Demoulas and Tom Coté, The Boston Foundation, Tom and Lisa Blumenthal, Brooke and John Cook, Plimpton Shattuck Fund, Kate and Ben Taylor, The Japan Foundation, Kohlberg Greer Fund, Eugene M. Lang Foundation, Dr. Barbara Millen and Family, Fish Family Fund, Samuels & Associates and an anonymous donor. Media sponsors: Boston magazine, The Boston Globe.

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