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 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. Roughly one million customers have visited the Suntory Museum of Art and Suntory Hall in 2016.
In 2019, the Suntory Foundation for the Arts (originally Torii Music Foundation) celebrates its 50th anniversary. With gratitude for 50 years of enormous support and cooperation, this year, which serves as the first step to the next 50 years, we are developing memorial projects appropriate for the new age in the fields of art and music with the theme "Nourish the spirit, cultivate the future."
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 with a total of approximately 3,000 items that include one National Treasure and 15 Important Cultural Properties. The museum, which was designed by architect Kengo Kuma with the theme of a living room in the middle of the city, provides facilities such as shops, cafes, halls that hold a wide range of programs, and tea rooms.
Special Exhibitions Unique to Suntory Museum of Art
In 2018, five exhibitions unique to Suntory Museum of Art were held which were all popular. These include "Kan’ei Elegance Edo-Period Court Culture and Enshū, Ninsei, and Tan’yū," which provided an introduction to trends of sophisticated culture at the beginning of the 17th century, "The Glass that Gallé Adored— Glass from the Qing Imperial Collection," an exhibition that compared the beauty of Qing Dynasty Imperial Glass, known for its profound, excellent sculpting and polishing, with works of Emile Gallé, "The Ryukyu Kingdom: A Treasure Chest of Beauty," which featured important pieces of Ryukyu art, including pieces passed down by the Ryukyu Kingdom, "Daigoji Temple: A Shingon Esoteric Buddhist Universe in Kyoto," which placed the spotlight on the greatest treasures from esoteric Buddhism, and "In the Country of Fans, Japan," an overview of the world of fans that were invented in Japan in terms of a broad range of periods and perspectives.
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 rent in Japanese for all exhibitions and performing tea ceremonies on designated days in the museum tea ceremony room Genchoan.
Suntory Hall — Aiming for the Most Beautiful Sound in the World
Opened in 1986 as Tokyo's first dedicated concert hall. Performances by leading musicians from Japan and overseas are conducted in two halls, Main Hall with a vineyard style, praised as “a jewel box of sound” by great composer Karajan, and Blue Rose (Small Hall) which the hall prides. More than approximately 550 lectures are seen by roughly 600,000 people.
Promoting Universal Design Through Large-scale Renovation after 30 Years Since Opening
Suntory hall celebrated its 30th anniversary on October 12, 2016 before closing between February and August 2017 for large-scale renovations. While valuing the mission to “pursue the world’s most beautiful sounds”, we are promoting universal design to offer more entrances able to approach concert seats without traversing stairways so that everyone can enjoy performances regardless of mobility while also adding a ramp to easily move from the foyer to the large first floor hall as well as additional multi-purpose restrooms.
Suntory Hall is still moments away from opening after these renovations, but a concert with an evacuation drill was held with the participation of Suntory Group employees. We aim to ensure Suntory Hall has the highest level of safety management in the world.
Full Performance Archive from the Inaugural Performance to Present Day
A complete Suntory Hall Performance Archive has been built to allow anyone to search performance information about the many historic performances held at the hall from the day the doors opened up to today.
Performances Full of Originality
Suntory Hall has been holding original performances since its opening as a base for transmitting musical information. Since 1987, our Summer Festival, which features contemporary music, and Chamber Music Garden, an event held annually in June started in 2011 when Suntory Hall celebrated its 25th anniversary, receive 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 Keizou Saji Prize awarded for outstanding challenging performances and the Yasushi Akutagawa Suntory 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 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 aid given to music activities provided together with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Concerts for Children in disaster affected areas to mentoring of junior orchestras and musical remembrances. We held a remembrance concert in 2017 with the Vienna Philharmonic as part of our support toward recovery after the Kumamoto Earthquake.
Suntory Foundation for the Arts 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 the discovery of talented human resources across a wide range of fields, and support original and adventurous research, and, together with the world and Japan, contribute to the dramatic development of cultural exchange.
Our initiatives include research assistance and investigative research in the fields of the humanities and social science as an Arts and Culture Promotion Project effort, awarding of the Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities, awarding the Suntory Prize for Community Cultural Activities for overseas publishing support as a Regional Culture Promotion Project efforts, 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, and connecting researchers with society.
The Foundation celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2019. For its 40th anniversary, new initiatives such as "Gakugei Live," premium mini talks, an international symposium, and regional culture forum are also being carried out with the new concept of “Connecting Knowledge, Spreading Knowledge, and Enjoying Knowledge."
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 Foundation for Life Sciences 1979 as the Suntory Institute for Bioorganic Research. The Institute promotes research and disseminating academics of life science and its fusional area of bioorganic science. It currently nurtures university professors and other researchers that play active roles on the frontline.
We engage in research activities for the purpose of promoting collaborative research with research institutions such as universities while 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. It also operates an analysis center to aid research by universities, aiding new researchers, grants for graduate students, aid for promoting research such as aiding academic meetings as well as research and educational support through the launch of courses cooperating with graduate schools and projects to research the development of human resource development such as system of doctoral guest researcher. It also operates analysis center to aid research by universities, aiding new researchers, grants for graduate students, aid for promoting research such as aiding academic meetings, system of doctoral guest researcher, educational support for universities, and other activities to train researchers.
The world has begun to discover the health components of sesame in Sesamin and the biosynthesized coryneform bactermium of Sesamin as well as Sesaminol antioxidants included in sesame seeds. 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 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-jyo Hall in 1983 which was held for the 36th time in 2018.
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-jyo 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-jyo Hall.
From 2017, in addition to television broadcasts, we have been providing LINE LIVE, a live broadcast for reaching more viewers.