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Nagoya: “Looking East: Western Artists and the Allure of Japan” japonism exhibition

Japonism (from the French Japonisme, first used in 1872) is the influence of Japanese art, fashion and aesthetics on Western culture.

From January 2 to May 10, 2015, you will find an exhibition about Japonism in the Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts in Nagoya. The reason for the confusing name is that it’s a branch museum of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, but located in Nagoya. It was opened in 1999 to help bring the treasures of the MFA’s collection to Japan, particularly those of types rarely exhibited in Japan.

The description of the exhibition from the exhibition website:

Looking East is the first major exhibition from the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston(MFA), to survey the rich connections among Japan, Europe, and North America around 1900. The extraordinary influence of Japanese culture on the Western imagination, known as japonisme, profoundly affected leading artistic movements of the era, including Impressionism, Aestheticism, and Art Nouveau.

The exhibition explores this extraordinary moment of cross-cultural exchange by presenting about 150 exhibits including paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts in five sections: Taste for Japan; Woman; City Life; Nature; and Landscape. Each of the sections emphasizes visual connections across national borders, demonstrating the many ways that Western artists encountered Japanese art, either directly or through the example of contemporaries who introduced them to Japanese themes and styles, including asymmetry, decorative patterning, and calligraphic gesture.

Masterpieces by European and American artists will be shown along with precious objects and Ukiyo-e paintings and prints from the Museum’s Japanese collection, which is one of the finest in the world – Claude Monet’s La Japonaise, exhibited for the first time after meticulous conservation; Vincent Van Gogh’s celebrated Lullaby: Madame Augustine Roulin Rocking a Cradle (La Berceuse); and other highlights that rank among the MFA’s most beloved treasures.


You can find more information about the exhibition at the exhibition website, although the English information is quite limited, so you better bring a dictionary or Google Translate along.

For more info about the museum, take a look below.


Nagoya Boston Museum of Fine Arts

1-1-1 Kanayamacho, Naka-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi

Museum hours

Weekday 10:00am – 7:00pm(Last entrance is 6:30pm)
Sat, Sun and Public Holidays 10:00am – 5:00pm(Last entrance is 4:30pm)
Closed Mondays, Year-end/New year, During exhibition change period
Note:During weeks when a national holiday or substitute holiday falls on a Monday, the Museum will be open Monday and closed on Tuesday instead.


General Students Children
(middle-school-age and younger)
¥1,300(¥1,100) ¥900(¥700) Free admission
  • Figures in ( ) are for advance tickets or group (more than 20 people) discount rates.
  • Admissions are subject to unannounced changes.
  • For those receiving discounts such as Students, please present your ID/certificates at the ticket counter.
  • The discount admission fee for after 5:00p.m. on weekdays applies only when tickets are purchased at the Museum ticket counter.
  • Discounts cannot be combined with other offers.