Japan – image and self-image

The exhibition features Samurai armour, razor sharp swords, stylised masks and magnificent textiles from the No Theatre in addition to traditional clothing from the Ainu people and objects associated with the Japanese teahouse at the museum.

Exhibition picture, Japan - Image and Self-image

The exhibition is a reflection of traditional Japan from the 17th century until the end of the 19th century – a period that us Westerners as well as the Japanese themselves associate with the Samurai people. The objects on display have a clear connection with modern Japan, which is evident in today's popular culture and in Japanese films, cartoons (manga) and fashion.

The exhibition also features rare and never before exhibited objects from the indigenous people of Japan, the Ainu. The society and visual world of the Ainu people constitutes a fascinating contrast to the more renowned elements of the Japanese culture. Their fate in the encounter with a stronger nation has parallels in many other parts of the world.

The image of pre-industrial Japan has shaped our perception of what is Japanese culture. It has influenced the collections on display in this museum and has also provided the Japanese people with an unlimited repertoire of symbols with which they can shape and reshape their self-image and society.