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Current Exhibition

Special Exhibition
The Shape of Water
—From the War Between the Genji and Heike Clans to Senju Hiroshi’s Waterfalls Series

【特別展】水のかたち ―《源平合戦図》から千住博の「滝」まで―

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9 July (Sat.)– 25 September (Sun.) 2022
(Closed on 19 July and 20 September and on Mondays, except for 18 July and 19 September.)
*Some works will rotate during the exhibition. 1st period (on display 9 July – 14 Aug) / 2nd period (on display 16 Aug – 25 Sep.)

Hours: 10 am - 5 pm (Last admission at 4:30 pm)

Admission Fees: Adults: 1,300 yen; university and high school students: 1,000 yen; middle school and younger children: free of charge;
Disability ID holders and one person accompanying them: 1,100 yen
*Discount for those who are wearing kimono: Discount of 200 yen for adults

Summer Student Discount: University and high school students: 1,000 yen → 500 yen

Organized by: Yamatane Museum of Art and Nikkei Inc.

Highlights of the Exhibition
Utagawa Hiroshige, Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road: Kanbara (Evening Snow). Large Format (Ōban) Polychrome Woodblock Print (Nishiki-e) on Paper, Edo Period, c. 1833-36; Yamatane Museum of Art ●
Yokoyama Taikan, Sea in Summer. Color on Paper, Shōwa Period, c. 1952; Yamatane Museum of Art
Kawai Gyokudō, Lake in a Snowstorm. Ink and Light Color on Silk, Showa Period, 1942; Yamatane Museum of Art
Hishida Shunsō, After the Rain. Color on Silk, Meiji Period, c. 1907; Yamatane Museum of Art
Okumura Togyū, Maelstroms at Naruto. Color on Paper, Showa Period, 1959; Yamatane Museum of Art
Yamamoto Kyūjin, Song of a Flowing Stream. Color on Paper, Showa Period, 1974; Yamatane Museum of Art
Imamura Shikō, Kenreimon-in at Ōhara: Scene from the Tale of the Heike. Color on Silk, Meiji Period, 1909; Yamatane Museum of Art
Kayama Matazō, Waves. Ink and Color on Paper, Showa Period, 1979; Yamatane Museum of Art
Yasuda Yukihiko, Minamoto no Yoshitsune in Hiraizumi. Color on Paper, Showa Period, 1965; Yamatane Museum of Art

Approximately 50 works in total are to be displayed.

Exhibition Overview

For the summer of 2022, the Yamatane Museum of Art will hold a refreshing exhibition with water as its theme.

Japan, surrounded by seas on all sides, has a moist climate with ample rainfall. Water is thus a familiar presence and one that has long been depicted in paintings of famous places, landscape paintings, picture scrolls, and other formats and a variety of themes. Since the beginning of the modern period, water has been an important motif in nihonga as well, from landscape paintings with the sea, lakes, rivers, or waterfalls as their themes to history paintings depicting waterside scenes. The water motif can be found in a broad range of works, regardless of period or genre.
Artists deftly capture its mutable appearance and, with their individual sensibilities and skills, render the forms of water in a host of distinctive ways.

This exhibition presents masterworks impressively depicting the many faces of water. War Between Genji and Heike Clans (from the Tale of the Heike) is set at the seashore. Utagawa Hiroshige’s pictures of famous places on display include A Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Evening Shower at Ōhashi Bridge, famed as a masterly depiction of rain. Kawabata Ryūshi’s The Black Current presents the ocean though a lavish use of azurite blue pigment. Ode to Mountain Ranges and Flowing Waters☆, Matsuo Toshio’s masterpiece, is an ink wash painting depicting a Chinese landscape in its mysterious profundity. The exhibition also includes Senju Hiroshi’s Waterfalls Series, which has become synonymous with that artist.

During summer’s intense heat, we hope visitors will enjoy the many shapes of water, expressed in many ways by Japanese artists, in our refreshingly cool galleries.

Special Display: The Genpei World in Nihonga

As a special display in this exhibition, we introduce works related to the  Tales of the Genpei War, an account of the war between the Minamoto (Genji) and Taira (Heike) clans, which has recently attracted considerable attention through their retelling in media ranging from NHK’s distinguished Taiga Drama series to anime. Those tales have also often been addressed in nihonga, and have a living tradition of their depiction,, mainly by artists specializing in history paintings.

Those Genpei paintings include many scenes on or by the water, whether the Uji River or the Seto Inland Sea. The works included in The Shape of Water exhibition are joined here by a group of paintings on the theme of Genpei heroes and heroines, including Yasuda Yukihiko’s Minamoto no Yoshitsune in Hiraizumi, which depicts both Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Fujiwara no Hidehira, and Imamura Shikō’s Kenreimon-in at Ōhara: Scene from the Tale of the Heike, which includes the dowager empress Kenreimon-in, who was Tokuko, the daughter of Taira no Kiyomori.


  • Utagawa Hiroshige, A Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Evening Shower at Ōhashi Bridge. Yamatane Museum of Art ○

  • Kawabata Ryūshi, The Black Current. Yamatane Museum of Art

  • Senju Hiroshi, Waterfall. Yamatane Museum of Art

  • War between Genji and Heike Clans (from the Tale of the Heike). Yamatane Museum of Art

  • Kobori Tomoto, Nasu no Yoichi (Munetaka) Trying to Hit a Swinging Fan with an Arrow: Scene from the Tale of the Heike. Yamatane Museum of Art

  • Yasuda Yukihiko, Minamoto no Yoshitsune in Hiraizumi. Yamatane Museum of Art
* Period of Display: ○: 7/9-8/14, ●:8/16-9/25/All other works: Displayed for the entire exhibition period
3-12-36 Hiroo Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0012
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