At the start of the seventeenth century, an era of warfare had ended. New currents in culture were emerging, trends now called “Kan’ei Culture.” In Kan’ei Culture, kirei, “beautiful,” was a word that meant stylish and refined design. Combined with a tendency to revive the classics, the result was elegance unprecedented in the Edo world. This exhibition begins with the court culture upon which Kan’ei Culture was centered and examines its fruition in the works of such artists as Kobori Enshu, Nonomura Ninsei, and Kano Tan'yu.


Kan’ei Elegance
Edo-Period Court Culture and Enshū, Ninsei, and Tan’yū

February 14 to April 8, 2018

*There will be an exhibition change during the course of exhibition
*Download the list of changes in works on display

At the beginning of the 17th century, a period of calm came to Japan, heralding the end of the century of war and strife as the Edo shogunate established their power and authority. This period was also a time of new trends and tastes in the cultural sphere. This time came to be known as the Kan’ei era culture, as it flourished primarily during the Kan’ei era that spanned 1624 to 1644. Kan’ei culture was characterized by chic, elegant forms that can be symbolized by the Japanese term kirei, or lovely. These tastes combined with the classical revival of the day to become the miyabi realm of cultured elegance in the Edo period.
Kan’ei culture was largely centered in Kyoto, where emperor Gomizunō, well versed in scholarship and the various art forms, was renowned for his efforts to revive court rituals and classical literature. In particular he positioned waka poetry as the art form that best symbolized the imperial court. He not only took this pursuit of refined elegance in waka, but also extended that influence towards various other art forms.
The shogunate closely monitored these trends within the aristocratic circles, and while sometimes their opinions differed there was a flourishing cultural interchange between court and shogunate. This interaction took place primarily in the salons of the day in Kyoto, drawing into their circle figures from all different classes, overcoming the barriers between aristocrat, military class and townsperson, to foment and share an artistic sensibility suitable for a new age.
This exhibition focuses on the court culture that played a role in the miyabi trend in the early pre-modern era, and the aesthetics of a new age that took miyabi as their axis. These aesthetics are here displayed through the various art forms created by such exemplars of the taste as Kobori Enshū, Nonomura Ninsei and Kanō Tan’yū.

▼Organized by:Suntory Museum of Art and The Asahi Shimbun
▼Sponsored by:Mitsui Fudosan Co.,Ltd, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd., and Suntory Holdings Limited


February 14 to April 8, 2018

*There will be an exhibition change during the course of exhibition
*Download the list of changes in works on display


10:00-18:00 *Friday and Saturday 10:00-20:00

*Last admission: 30 minutes before closing



*Open until 18:00 on April 3, 2018
*shop×cafe will be open daily during a period of an exhibition.

Adult General ¥1,300 Advance ¥1,100
College and High School Student General ¥1,000 Advance ¥800

Elementary, Junior-High school students and under are free.
*With a certificate of disability, the admission fee of a disabled person and a care-giver will be waived.
*Advance tickets will be available at the museum reception desk during opening hours from November 22, 2017 to January 28, 2018.


◇100 Yen Discount
•For presenting a coupon downloaded from our website
•For displaying a coupon on your mobile/smartphone
•For presenting a ticket to a thematic exhibition at the National Art Center, Tokyo, or Mori Art Museum
•For parties of 20 or more

*Only one discount per person

Audio Guide

¥550 (English Available)