Japan Spring celebrates the first time that a city outside Japan is hosting three concurrent exhibitions of masterworks by distinguished Edo-period artists. In honor of Japan Spring and the National Cherry Blossom Festival (March 20–April 27), the Freer and Sackler Galleries and the National Gallery of Art present an array of public programs for all ages, including concerts, films, performances, lectures, tours, gallery talks, and more. All programs are free of charge and open to the public. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis at both locations.
Follow all Japan Spring events at both institutions on Twitter using hashtag #JapanSpringDC.
Celebrate the arrival of Japan Spring at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in the Sackler Pavilion. Enjoy Edo-period music and cherry blossom flower arrangements. Bento boxes and tea are available for purchase from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. A Hokusai-inspired family activity and a demonstration of the dramatic art of Kabuki begin at 2:00 p.m. Japanese cuisine is provided by Kushi. More info.
The Art of Itō Jakuchū
Illustrated lectures by noted scholars and conservators of Japanese art on the occasion of the exhibition Colorful Realm: Japanese Bird-and-Flower Paintings by Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800)," co-organized by the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. More info.
Two Artists, Two Series, One Modern Society
Masters of Mercy: Buddha's Amazing Disciples
Few artists better captured the energy and turmoil present in 19th-century Japanese society than did Katsushika Hokusai and Kano Kazunobu, both residents of the great metropolis of Edo (now Tokyo). Explore in two concurrent exhibitions—"Hokusai: 36 Views of Mount Fuji" and "Masters of Mercy: Buddha's Amazing Disciples"—how these near-contemporaries observed the clash and complementarity of tradition and radical change in a culture thrust into modernity. More info.
The Art of Kabuki: Bando Kotoji
Traditional dance master Bando Kotoji demonstrates scenes from famous Kabuki plays, discussing the costumes, makeup, postures, and movements with live music for shamisen, chanter, and percussion. Select audience members can receive onstage instruction. Organized by the Japan Society, with funding from the Japan Foundation. More info.
Freer|Sackler Tenth Annual National Cherry Blossom Festival Anime Marathon: 100% Miyazaki!
This year's marathon, cosponsored by Otakorp, Inc., is part of Castles in the Sky: Miyazaki, Takahata, and the Masters of Studio Ghibli, presented in celebration of the centennial of the National Cherry Blossom Festival with the AFI Silver Theatre, the Freer and Sackler, the National Gallery of Art, and the Japan Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan. (Also see the National Gallery of Art's family-friendly programs). More info.
A young boy meets Ponyo—part fish, part human—who escaped from an evil scientist's underwater lair. Ponyo tries to use magic to become human, but larger forces threaten to upset the balance of nature. (Hayao Miyazaki, 2008, 101 mins., English)
A swashbuckling aviator—who happens to be a pig—flies his bright red plane to battle pirates and other evildoers in this eccentric adventure, set in 1920s Italy and filled with aerial derring-do. (Hayao Miyazaki, 1992, 94 mins., English)
Humans, gods, and demons battle over the fate of an unspoiled forest in this epic fable on ecology and spirituality, which set new benchmarks for anime and catapulted Miyazaki to international renown. (Hayao Miyazaki, 1997, 134 mins., Japanese with English subtitles)
A young girl stumbles into a mysterious spirit world populated by creatures from the depths of Japanese mythology. This Oscar winner remains the highest-grossing film in Japan's history. (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001, 125 mins., Japanese with English subtitles)
Sunday, April 22, 4:30 p.m.
National Gallery of Art, East Building Auditorium
A delicate triangular love story set in historic Asuka, Naomi Kawase's Hanezu (2011) underscores the relationship between humans and their habitat, with meditative views of the natural world.
Freer Medal Award Ceremony
John Rosenfield, professor emeritus of East Asian art at Harvard University, has been selected to receive the Freer Medal in recognition of his seminal contributions to his field. Professor Rosenfield, the thirteenth recipient of the medal, is a distinguished scholar of Japanese art and related fields, whose research has encompassed a wide range of time periods and media. As a curator, he has trained many of the scholars who are active in the field today. Free and open to the public, the award ceremony includes a lecture by Professor Rosenfield.
Visual Culture and Social Upheaval: Imaging Change in Late Edo Period Japan
Explore the intersection of pop culture and spiritual concerns in late Edo society with leading scholars in the field. In turn, discover the reasons behind the acclaim for Kano Kazunobu’s phantasmagoric paintings of Buddha’s legendary disciples and Katsushika Hokusai’s famous print series of Mount Fuji. Learn how the popularity of these iconic images endures in contemporary Japan. The panel includes James C. Dobbins, Fairchild professor of religion at Oberlin College; Patricia Graham, independent art historian; Constantine N. Vaporis, professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and Freer|Sackler curators James Ulak and Ann Yonemura.
Woodblock Printmaking, Then and Now
Contemporary artist Keiji Shinohara, joined by Freer|Sackler curator Ann Yonemura, demonstrates Japanese woodblock printmaking and discusses the surprises that come with each print he creates. Shinohara shares how he mastered his craft and developed a personal style that expresses the character of his materials and the unique stories behind each print. In addition, he reveals how he has been inspired by Hokusai’s Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, now on view in the Sackler.
Tatebanko: Japanese Paper Dioramas
Use an activity guide to explore the exhibition "36 Views of Mount Fuji." In the classroom, create a layered miniature diorama (tatebanko) using images of Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai's landscape prints to explore his use of perspective. More info.
Anime Artists Encounter Arhats
Create your own printing block using Styrofoam. Then use two traditional Japanese blue pigments and Prussian blue, which was introduced in the Edo period (1615–1868), to print landscapes that convey the soft light of early dawn, just as Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai did in his series 36 Views of Mount Fuji.
The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery shop offers a variety of Japanese-inspired products, including vintage kimonos, Haori jackets, bags, accessories, books, and ceramics, as well as an assortment of items highlighting the exhibition "Hokusai: 36 Views of Mount Fuji." The shop also features products inspired by the cherry blossoms found in the museum's collection, which highlight the cultural history behind the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival. Products include silk scarves, a traditional cherry blossom design Yukata and Haori jacket, delicate hand-made glass ornaments, cherry blossom jewelry sets, and one-of-a-kind bags, scarves, and ties created using pieces of vintage Japanese kimonos.
Photographers from the Smithsonian Institution often document events. Your photograph might be taken and used by the Smithsonian in its standard and non-profit educational, news-related, and/or editorial purposes. Images could appear in print or digital media, and may be posted online.