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Brief History

1899

Feb.1
Shinjiro Torii (Suntory’s founder) launches the Torii Shoten store in Osaka.

1921

Kotobukiya Limited is founded.
The social welfare organization Hojukai is also founded.

1961

Jun. - Sep.
Writing box with scenery of Mt. Ogura in maki-e (Important Cultural Property), Low desk with chrysanthemum design in maki-e, and Namban, folding screens attributed to Kanō Sanraku, are acquired.
Nov.20
Suntory Museum of Art opens on the 9th floor of the Palace Building, 1-10, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. Its first president is Keizo Saji, second president of Suntory.
Nov.21
The first exhibition, Inaugural Commemoration Exhibition: Art in Life, is held.
The museum entrance at Marunouchi
The first president of the Suntory Museum of Art, Keizo Saji
Writing box with scenery of Mt. Ogura in maki-e (Important cultural property), Muromachi period, 15th century
Low desk with chrysanthemum design in maki-e (Important cultural property), Muromachi period, 15th century
Namban (Important cultural property), Kanō Sanraku, Right screen of pair of six-panel folding screens, Momoyama period, Early 17th century

1962

Jun.21
Low desk with chrysanthemum design in maki-e is designated an Important Cultural Property.
June
Accessary box with fusenryō design in mother-of-pearl inlay and maki-e (Important Cultural Property) is acquired.
Accessory box with fusenryō design in mother-of-pearl inlay and maki-e (National Treasure), Kamakura period, 13th century

1964

May 26
Accessary box with fusenryō design in mother-of-pearl inlay and maki-e is designated a National Treasure.

1967

September
The Tale of Zenkyōbō picture scroll (Important Cultural Property) is acquired.
Nov.7
Art in Life: Works from the Suntory Museum of Art, the museum’s first external exhibition, is held at the Imai department store, Sapporo, Hokkaido.
The Tale of Zenkyōbō (Important cultural property), Emperor Go-Kogon, Kamakura period, 14th century

1968

Jun.7
Arte Tradicional del Japón (Japanese Traditional Art), the first overseas exhibition of the museum’s collection, is held at the Palace of Fine Arts, Mexico City, Mexico. The exhibition period is extended by two weeks due to its popularity; it attracted a total of 71,154 visitors.
December
Low desk and writing box with design of paulownia, bamboo, and phoenix in maki-e (Important Cultural Property) are acquired.
Low desk and writing box with design of paulownia, bamboo, and phoenix in maki-e (Important cultural property), Momoyama period, Early 17th century

1971

Mar.20
Japanese Traditional Arts: Art in Life is held at the Government of the Ryukyu Islands Museum, Okinawa (now the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum). (Regarded as an overseas exhibition, since Okinawa had not yet reverted to Japan.)

1974

Jul.22
Overseas exhibition, ИСКУССТВО ЯПОНСКОГО БЫТА XV-XIX ВЕКОВ (Art in Life in Japan from 15th to 19th centuries), is held at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow in the USSR.
Exhibition ИСКУССТВО ЯПОНСКОГО БЫТА XV-XIX ВЕКОВ at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

1975

May 22
Museum moves and reopens on the 11th floor of the Suntory Building, 1-2-3, Motoakasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Inaugural (Akasaka) Commemoration Exhibition: Japanese Arts, Tradition and Creation, is held.
Oct.14
Handcrafts and Icons of Russia, from 16th to Early 20th Centuries, an exhibition of work from the collections of the Zagorsk and Kolomenskoye museums in the USSR; first major exhibition of a collection from overseas.
Gallery during the Akasaka-Mitsuke period

1977

December
The glass collection of the sculptor Fumio Asakura (Satsuma kiriko, Qianlong glass, and many other examples of Japanese and Chinese glass) is acquired.
Set of three Satsuma-kiriko dishes with red overlay, Edo period, Probably middle of the 19th century

1978

May 25
Overseas exhibition, Genre Screens from the Suntory Museum of Art, is held at Japan House Gallery, New York in the USA.

1979

June
Western Kings on Horseback folding screens (Important Cultural Property) are acquired.
Aug.7
Otogi-zōshi and Nara-ehon, Special Exhibition of Works in Collections Overseas is held in conjunction with a meeting of the International Study Group on Nara-ehon.
Western Kings on Horseback (Important cultural property), Left screen of pair of four-panel folding screens, Momoyama period, Early 17th century

1983

Sep.15
Overseas exhibition, Autumn Grasses and Water Motifs in Japanese Art, is held at Japan House Gallery, New York in the USA.
Oct.21
Suntory Music Culture exhibition: The Real Beethoven is held in conjunction with the construction of Suntory Hall. Nine Suntory Music Culture exhibitions are held, until 1992.

1984

Jun.6
Flowers and Birds of Four Seasons folding screens, attributed to Tosa Hirochika, are designated an Important Cultural Property
Flowers and Birds of the Four Seasons (Important cultural property), Attributed to Tosa Hirochika, Right screen of pair of six-panel folding screens, Muromachi period, 15th century

1986

Dec.9
Commemorating a Quarter Century: Kōgei— Leaders at the End of the Century exhibition is held; first exhibition of contemporary art.

1987

Feb.10
TALES OF JAPAN: Scrolls from the New York Public Library exhibition is held, displaying the library’s collection of Japanese art.

1988

Sep.6
Tales of Japan: Ireland Chester Beatty Collection exhibition is held.
Oct.25
The Suntory Prize Exhibition ’88 is held; held eight times, until 1998, as The Suntory Prize Exhibition.
The Suntory Prize Exhibition’92 Catalog cover

1989

Oct.21
The Fujinoki Kofun and Its Age exhibition is held. Number of visitors reaches 75,503.

1991

Oct.3
Imitation & Inspiration—Japanese Influence on Dutch Art exhibition is held, in commemoration of the visit to Japan of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix.

1994

May
The Yasunari Kikuchi collection of glass works by Emile Gallé and others is acquired.
October
Portrait of Minamoto no Shitagō from the Satake version of the Thirty-six Immortal Poets (Important Cultural Property) is acquired.
Vase with mayfly design, Emile Gallé,19th century, 1889-1900
(Kikuchi Collection)
©Keizo Kioku
Portrait of Minamoto no Shitagō from the Satake version of the Thirty-six Immortal Poets (Important cultural property), Painting attributed to Fujiwara no Nobuzane/Calligraphy attributed to Gokyogoku Yoshitsune, Kamakura period, 13th century

1996

Jun.27
Namban folding screens, attributed to Kanō Sanraku, Covered box with silver grass design in white slip, underglaze blue, and gold by Ogata Kenzan, and Large octangular covered jar with bird-and-flower design in overglaze enamels are designated Important Cultural Properties.
Covered box with silver grass design in white slip, underglaze blue, and gold (Important cultural property), Ogata Kenzan, Edo period, Early 18th century
Large octangular covered jar with bird-and-flower design in overglaze enamels (Important cultural property), Arita, Edo period, 1690s-1710s

1997

Jun.30
Top-shaped bowl with five ships design in overglaze enamels is designated an Important Cultural Property.
Top-shaped bowl with five ships design in overglaze enamels (Important cultural property), Arita, Edo period, 1750s-1790s

2000

Dec.4
Three-footed dish with pine tree in underglaze blue is designated an Important Cultural Property.
Three-footed dish with pine tree in underglaze blue (Important cultural property), Arita, Nabeshima Domain kiln, Edo period, 1690s-1700s

2004

Dec.30
The exhibition, Salute to Akasaka-Mitsuke: Suntory Museum of Art Fine Art Exhibition— Art in Life 1975-2004, is held, and the museum is temporarily closed.
Salute to Akasaka-Mitsuke: Suntory Museum of Art Fine Art Exhibition Flyer

2007

Mar.30
Museum moves and reopens in Tokyo Midtown Galleria 3rd floor, 9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo. An Exhibition Commemorating the New Home of the Suntory Museum of Art Iwai:Arts of Celebration is held.

2009

Sep.1
The Suntory Foundation for the Arts is founded.

2011

Mar.19
Celebrates the 50th anniversary of the museum’s opening with the Art Revisited, Beauty Revealed exhibition.

2012

December
Woman with Insomnia, from the Scroll of Diseases and Deformities, fragment (Important Cultural Property) is acquired.
Woman with Insomnia, from the Scroll of Diseases and Deformities, fragment (Important cultural property), Late Heian period, 12th century

2015

June
Conquest of Shutendōji, by Kanō Motonobu, is designated an Important Cultural Property.
Conquest of Shutendōji (detail) (Important cultural property), Kanō Motonobu, Muromachi period, 16th century (1522)

2016

April
Western-style sugoroku game board with Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine design in Maki-e (Important Cultural Property) is acquired.
Western-style Sugoroku game board with Kiyomizudera Temple and Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine design in maki-e (Important cultural property), Momoyama period, Early 17th century

2017

March
Exhibitions and events commemorating a decade in Roppongi are held throughout the year.

2019

Nov.11
Museum closes temporarily for renovation.

2020

Jul.22
Museum reopens with commemorative exhibitions.

2020 January

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2020 February

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2020 March

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2020 April

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2020 May

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2020 June

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2020 July

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2020 August

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2020 September

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2020 October

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2020 November

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2020 December

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