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
Opened in 1961 with the basic philosophy of “Art in Life”, the Suntory Museum of Art has hosted special exhibitions and expanded its collection, mainly consisting of Japanese art pieces. In March 2007, the museum was moved to Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi. Under the theme of "Art Revised, Beauty Revealed,” the museum has held a variety of special exhibitions with approximately 3,000 items from its collection, including one national treasure and 15 important cultural properties, and continues its activities to pass on the aesthetic values that lie at the heart of Japanese people to future generations. The museum, designed around the theme of “Urban Living Room” by architect Kengo Kuma, underwent a major renovation and reopened in 2020. The museum now features a store, a cafè, a tea ceremony room and a hall that features various programs, among others.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2021 with ambitious commemorative exhibitions, the museum ventures into a new realm
In 2021, the Suntory Museum of Art held four exhibitions to commemorate its 60th anniversary. The “Masterpieces from the Japanese Painting Collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art” exhibition, which featured rare Japanese works of art from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in the Midwest in the United States, was well received as a traveling exhibition showcasing huge collection of artworks at a time when travel was difficult. This was followed by the “Unsettling Japanese Art” exhibition which drew attention for its innovative approach to stimulate the minds of audiences; the museum’s first sword exhibition “Swords: The Heart of a Mononofu” which was also highly acclaimed by sword fans for its collaboration with popular online games; and the “Special Exhibition Prince Shotoku” that celebrates the 1400th anniversary of the passing of Prince Shotoku, tracing his life and beliefs through various works including original drawings from a popular manga series. Throughout the year, the museum took all necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections, making many guests feel safe and secure during their visit.
To continuously deliver value to those who may not be able to visit the museum due to the pandemic, we continue our efforts to provide opportunities to experience Japanese culture by offering a wider range of online programs.
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 by world’s top artists from home and abroad, and welcomes approximately 600,000 visitors. Even during pandemic of Covid-19, Suntory Hall strived to have concerts enhancing the precautious measures for infectious diseases based on the idea of enriching peoples’ lives through music. In September 2021, visitors to Suntory Hall hit 20 million since its opening.
Aiming for the World’s Top Quality of Safety and Comfort
While valuing the mission to ‘In pursuit of the world’s most beautiful sound’, Suntory Hall welcomes 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 launched Digital Suntory Hall (DSH) as the new platform to push forward the Digital Transformation of the hall.
The aim of Digital Suntory Hall is to deliver music safely and securely both during and after the pandemic, and it hopes that people from all over the world can enjoy the hall’s facilities and concerts regardless of distance, time difference, borders, or language. Currently the contents include Online Events, Virtual Backstage Tour, Streamed Concerts, Online Shop, Video Library, and Performance Archive. All content and information are accessible in English.
Presenting Unique Programs to Commemorate its 35th Anniversary
Suntory Hall has presented unique programs since its opening as an influential venue in the music industry. To commemorate its 35th anniversary in 2021, the hall created a special logo slogan, “The Home of Applause”, and Suntory Hall presented a year-long program of attractive and diverse performances by top artists. Highlights include a specially expanded edition of the annual chamber music festival “Suntory Hall Chamber Music Garden”, the annual “Suntory Hall Summer Festival" of contemporary music, “35th Anniversary Gala Concert”, and the Hall Opera® production of Verdi’s La Traviata. The popular “Wiener Philharmoniker Week in Japan” was led by Maestro Riccardo Muti, which made us re-recognize that sharing music is an essential value for musicians and audiences that brings courage and hope as a new chapter of its history.
Suntory Hall and Suntory Museum of Art Purchase 100% Renewable Electricity
From April 2022, Suntory Group purchases 100% renewable electricity for all 30 directly owned manufacturing sites and R&D facilities in Japan. Suntory Hall and Suntory Museum of Art have also switched to purchasing 100% of their electricity from renewable energy sources. Through these efforts, the two facilities have been able to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 800 tons per year compared to the past. We believe that both "the most beautiful echoes in the world" and "urban living rooms" can be realized by placing importance on harmony with nature as well as with people and society.
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. Community Culture Promotion Project efforts include 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.
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.
The five year program Suntory Rising Stars Encouragement Program in Life Sciences (SunRiSE) started in April 2021 with the ten young researchers (SunRiSE fellow) selected from nearly 500 applicants that applied in FY2020. In FY2021, we held research exchange meeting to promote interaction among the fellows as well as discussion session about the progress they made during the year with the participation of program management committee member researchers.
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 39th time in 2021.
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.
We also undertook a new challenge in 2020 by inviting people from throughout the country to participate by posting singing videos, in 2021, about 15,000 videos from 12 countries made the chorus.