Suntory Group is involved in a variety of cultural contribution activities such as operating the Suntory Museum of Art, Suntory Hall and other activities that contribute to the development of a rich culture and lifestyle.
In addition, we also support social science and humanities academic research and the research activities of the Suntory Foundation for Life Sciences. Through these activities we aim to foster international human resources capable of leading the next generation.
Promoting Arts, Culture and Academics
Suntory Foundation for the Arts
Suntory Museum of Art opened in 1961 and Torii Music Foundation established in 1969 as a 70th anniversary commemoration of the founding of Suntory (name changed to Suntory Music Foundation in 1978). Two activities that have been carried out in the field of arts for about half a century was merged as a 110th anniversary commemoration activity and renew them to suit the 21st century in 2009 as Suntory Foundation for the Arts.
Since April 2012, operation of Suntory Hall was added to expand its field and aims to contribute to further disseminate and develop music and arts in Japan through various unique activities.
Suntory Museum of Art -- Art revised, beauty revealed
Guided by the theme “Art in Life” since its founding in 1961, the museum’s current collection encompasses over 3,000 works of painting, lacquer ware, pottery, glass, and textile, including one national treasure and 15 important cultural properties. With no permanent exhibition, the museum is centered on its special exhibitions. The museum moved to Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi in March 2007. Based on the museum message of "Art revised, beauty revealed", we are also involved in passing down a sense of art of the Japanese people to future generations through larger and more diverse exhibitions. The museum, which was designed by architect Kengo Kuma with the theme of an "urban living room" in the middle of the city, provides facilities such as a shop, a cafe, a hall that hold a wide range of programs, and a tea room.
Special Exhibitions Unique to Suntory Museum of Art
In 2019, we held four exhibitions that are distinct to the Suntory Museum of Art; "Kawanabe Kyosai: Nothing Escaped His Brush," focusing on Kawanabe Kyosai; "information or inspiration? Japanese aesthetics to enjoy with left side and right side of the brain," collaborating with design office nendo lead by Oki Sato; "Styles of Play: The History of Merrymaking in Art," focusing on the theme of "play" in art; and "Mino Tea Wares: Kiseto, Setoguro, Shino, and Oribe," which introduce the appeal of unique and vivid design of pottery in the Mino area.
We will continue with efforts to make Japanese as well as foreign museum visitors familiar with Japanese culture, such as making audio guides in Japanese and English available for all exhibitions and performing tea ceremonies on designated days in the museum tea ceremony room Genchō-an.
Suntory Hall — In pursuit of the world’s most beautiful sound
Opened in 1986 as Tokyo’s first dedicated concert hall. Performances by leading musicians from Japan and overseas are performed in two halls, Main Hall with a vineyard style, praised as "a jewel box of sound" by world-renowned conductor Herbert von Karajan, and Blue Rose (Small Hall) which gives the space a warm sound and atmosphere and the audience can feel close to the performers. Every year, Suntory Hall holds more than 550 events and welcomes approximately 600,000 visitors.
Enhancing Accessibility through Seven-month Renovation aiming for the World’s Top Quality of Safety and Comfort.
Suntory Hall celebrated its 30th anniversary on October 12, 2016 before closing between February and August 2017 for a seven-month renovation. While valuing the mission to "In pursuit of the world’s most beautiful sound", we welcome everyone and want ourselves to be available to all. We are working hard to remove barriers so that our facilities and events can be accessible to as many people as possible.
Suntory Hall held a concert and an emergency drill with the Suntory Group employees participated before the reopen after the renovation. We aim to ensure Suntory Hall has the highest standard of the crisis management.
Presenting Unique Programs
Suntory Hall has presented unique programs since its opening as an influential venue in the music industry. Particularly, the Summer Festival of contemporary music launched in 1987 and the annual Chamber Music Garden specialized in chamber music launched in 2011 gather international attention.
Music Division — Innovative Activities to Promote Music
We are involved in a variety of projects designed to promote Western music in Japan, including awarding the Suntory Music Award to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding achievements in the field of music as well as the Keizo Saji Prize awarded for outstanding challenging performances and the Yasushi Akutagawa Suntory Award for Music Composition given to up-and-coming Japanese composers with superior works. We also introduce "Works of Japanese Composers" and provide grants for concerts. Since 2014, Suntory has also been aiming to conserve excellent stringed instrument artifacts which are cultural heritage assets as well as cultivate new musicians through lending activities. The Suntory Foundation for the Arts lends its instruments to junior high and senior high school students and has begun a new program to lend instruments to up-and-coming musicians.
Vienna Philharmonic & Suntory Music Aid Fund
The Suntory Foundation for the Arts engages in activities with Suntory Holdings Ltd. for the Vienna Philharmonic & Suntory Music Aid Fund for the purpose of invigorating disaster afflicted areas as well as the rest of Japan.
We are expanding many of these activities from the Music Aid Award that issues grants to music activities provided together with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra to Concerts for Children in disaster-affected areas and mentoring of junior orchestras and musical remembrances.
Suntory Foundation was established in 1979 in celebration of Suntory’s 80th anniversary. Aiming to deepen international and interdisciplinary exploration of society and culture, we will support and discover of talented human resources across a wide range of fields, and support original and adventurous research, and, contribute to the dramatic development of cultural exchange between the world and Japan.
Our initiatives as a Humanities and Social Sciences Promotion Project effort, include research assistance and investigative research in the fields of the humanities and social science, awarding of the Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities, and overseas publishing support. And as a Community Culture Promotion Project efforts awarding the Suntory Prize for Community Cultural Activities and support for regional cultural activities.
In recent years, the Foundation has been actively working to provide support to young researches, and carries out initiatives including providing support for human resources who will play a role in the future, providing opportunities for exchange between the worlds of academism and journalism as a bridge between researchers and society.
The Foundation celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2019. Since the 40th anniversary, new initiatives such as talk live, an international symposium, and regional culture forum were also carried out with the new concept of "Connecting Knowledge, Spreading Knowledge, and Enjoying Knowledge."
40th Anniversary Initiatives of the Suntory Foundation
Talk Live("Gakugei Live")
This initiative shares the fascination of <knowledge> with media affiliates by inviting researchers who are experts in a variety of fields as guests to hold talks that go beyond their specialized fields.
Talk Live("Premium Mini Talks")
This initiative offered a venue at bookstores where readers could interact with Suntory Prize Winners for Social Sciences and Humanities.
This symposium invited internationally-renowned opinion leaders to examine the challenges in Japan of an emerging super-aged society before it hits the world.
Regional Culture Forum
These cultural forms have been held in five cities in Japan—Tokyo, Fukushima, Toyama, Hiroshima and Osaka (*no longer for release) to advocate proposals ("Preservation Hints") for the preservation and expansion of local culture and share expertise with practitioners and supporters of regional culture.
SUNTORY FOUNDATION FOR LIFE SCIENCES
Preceded by the Institute of Food Chemistry which was established in 1946 to improve the health and nutrition of the Japanese people, the name was changed to Suntory Institute for Bioorganic Research (SUNBOR) in 1979 and Suntory Foundation for Life Sciences in 2011. The Foundation promotes research and disseminating academics of life science and its fusional area of bioorganic science. It has produced many university professors and other researchers that play active roles on the frontline.
We engage in research activities for unveiling the mechanisms of life emphasizing molecules using the keywords "metabolism","biomembrane", and "signalling" by positioning our own research into structural biology, organic chemistry, and molecular biology as points of integration for dissimilar fields. Collabolative research with research institutions such as universities is also promoted. It also operates analysis center to aid research by universities. SUNBOR GRANT for young researchers, SUNBOR SCHOLARSHIP for graduate students, aiding academic meetings, system of postdoctoral fellow, educational support for universities, and other activities to train researchers are also operated.
The discovery of enzyme gene for biosynthesis of Sesamolin and Sesaminol from Sesamin, antioxidant components of sesame, has been published for the first time in the world. Also, the gene controlling the contour shape of leaves and the blue formation mechanism created through interaction between flower pigment and flavonoid glycoside are also now known. These and many other research results are published in prominent academic papers. In addition, joint researchers and front-line researchers are invited to hold debriefing sessions annually.
Suntory Rising Stars Encouragement Program in Life Sciences (SunRiSE) was started in January 31, 2020. It provides flexible and effective support that eliminates limitations on usage purposes and duration of the support to enable young researchers in the basic science research to realize their aspirations to understand and pursue knowledge. We hope to build a network of knowledge that not only utilizes the exchange between researchers as well as connections the Foundation and Suntory have and release them to the society.
Suntory Presents Beethoven’s 9th with a Cast of 10,000 – Spreading the Joy of Singing Together
Suntory Presents Beethoven’s 9th with a Cast of 10,000 started as a commemorative event of the opening of the Osaka-jo Hall in 1983 which was held for the 37th time in 2019.
Suntory Group has been a co-sponsor from the first concert, which has become a seasonal event in December.
The wide ranging event went beyond the borders of the region and surpassed generations with the participation of 10,000 people of all ages and nationalities with the expansion of the lesson venue as an opportunity to experience the joy of singing and the excellence of classical music.
In 2011 to 2013, Tohoku venue, which was linked live with the Osaka-jo Hall, was also set as a part of an activity to support the recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. In 2014, 150 people from Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures were invited to the Osaka-jo Hall.
From 2017, in addition to television broadcasts, we have been providing LINE LIVE, a live broadcast for reaching more viewers.