Special Exhibition

Current Exhibition

Murai Kichibe - A Tobacco Baron in Modern Japan

Murai Kichibe (1864–1926) was the president of Japan's leading tobacco company prior to the government tobacco monopoly established in 1904. After the Tobacco Monopoly Law was enacted, most of Japan's foremost cutting-edge factories and manufacturing equipment previously held by the Murai Brothers Company, Ltd., were then transferred to the Monopoly Bureau. Murai Kichibe is also someone deeply connected to this museum which began from the Monopoly Bureau's archived materials.
Born into a tobacco merchant household in Kyoto, Murai recruited people who foresaw the industry's potential and established the Murai Brothers Company. He then studied American technology and began cigarette manufacturing operations. His company launched "SUN-RISE" (1891) and "HERO" (1894) cigarettes, becoming embroiled in the so-called "Meiji Tobacco Advertising Wars" with other large tobacco business operators Iwaya Matsuhei and Chiba Matsube. And with initiatives such as combining capital with investment from the American Tobacco Company in 1899, Murai's bold and innovative business ventures proved hugely influential not only within the tobacco industry but throughout the Japanese manufacturing industry as a whole. After the tobacco monopoly system took ef fect, Murai used the sizeable compensation payments he received to establish his own bank, and from there launched various business operations in mining and farm management, etc., while developing a broad social network in political and business circles.
This exhibition uses materials from the museum's diverse archives such as tobacco packages, billboards and posters to introduce the Meiji-period tobacco industry with a focus on Murai Kichibe. It also strives to highlight his other relatively unknown business operations and family legacy with documents and photographs, etc.

October 31, 2020 – January 24, 2021

※All information are given in Japanese only

[General admission fees]

General(Adults and university students)
individual:100yen

Children and pupils of primary, juniorhigh, and high schools
individual:50yen

Visitors over 65 years old ※Please show proof of age when entering.
individual:50yen


※ 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

    Cigarettes “HERO” Murai Brothers & Co.  Released in 1894

  • photo

    Murai Building in Nihombashi, Tokyo (Murai Bank Main Office) Built in 1913

■Related events
All related events conducted during special exhibitions are conducted in Japanese.
Check the links below for more information.

Link to the event listing on the Japanese site.