Special Exhibition

Past Exhibition

Demanding Tastes of Fashionable Gentlemen
-The Japanese Traditional Smoking Item-

November 19, Saturday, 2016 - January 9, Monday 2017

Tobacco is thought to have come to Japan at the end of the 16th century. In the ensuing centuries, a unique Japanese smoking style emerged in which tobacco was cut into hair-thin strands and smoked in kiseru Japanese pipes, and smoking became an established part of daily life. This form of smoking was widely common all the way until the core shift to cigarettes occurred in the early Showa period (20th century).

Of the items required for kiseru smoking, the tabakobon tobacco tray was used as a furnishing, while the kiseru pipe and the tabakoire tobacco pouch were used as worn accessories, each reflecting the tastes of its owner. To express their tastes, people used items made of rare materials and decorated their items with metal engravings and lacquer art. Among these goods can be seen evidence of the incredible skill of artisans from a variety of fields, including types of skills that have ceased to exist in the present day.

Moreover, with the shift in the mid-19th century from the Edo period to the Meiji period and the accompanying Haitorei Edict banning swords in Japan, artisans who had made sword accoutrements were forced to apply their talents to daily necessities such as smoking items, resulting in the production of beautiful masterpieces of smoking item workmanship.

This exhibition begins with the personal kiseru of Date Masamune, the definition of the fashionable gentleman, and it will take you to the world of “practicality” and “beauty” of Japanese smoking items. Mixing in stories of artisans who worked on smoking items, sometimes for kabuki actors, the exhibition will focus on the demanding tastes reflected in smoking items used as personal belongings and effects. Enjoy the refined standards of the fashionable men of history as you view the exhibition.

[General admission fees]

General(Adults and university students)
Group(20 or more):50yen

Children and pupils of primary, juniorhigh, and high schools
Group(20 or more):20yen

※ With age certificate, visitors over 65 years old are admitted for half price.
※ With disability certificate, free admission for disabled persons and one accompanying attendant.

  • photo

    Cotton woven tobacco pouch
    Chasing metal shaped into the Japanese maple leaf
    Artisan: Kagawa Katsuhiro

  • photo

    Tsuba with the design of exorcising oni devil-like creature
    Artisan: Kiyotoshi Hogen
    (one of the most popular sword fitting artisans in the late 19th period)