Treasures of the Tokyo National Museum with Rafael A. Balboa - Context Travel

Treasures of the Tokyo National Museum with Rafael A. Balboa


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Established in 1872, the Tokyo National Museum is the oldest museum of Japan, comprising over 140,000 artifacts in its collection. From the enigmatic clay figurines named Dogu found in the late Jomon Period around 3,000 years ago, to Ukiyo-e woodblock prints from the end of the Edo Period; the Tokyo National Museum is without dispute the most comprehensive introduction to Japanese art.

The seminar will explore some of the most relevant artifacts rotating at the Honkan, the main Japanese Gallery heavily damaged in 1923 and rebuilt and opened again in 1938. Organized chronologically the narratives around these artifacts will allow us to elaborate on other relevant historical aspects that transformed the Japanese society, such as the introduction of Buddhism in the 6th century imported from Korea, the Zen thinking and tea ceremony that was refined by tea master Sen no Rikyu in the 16th century. This virtual visit will also immerse the audience in several aspects of the lifestyle of people in Japan through diverse periods of its history, elaborating further in concepts such as the bushido (the spirit of the samurai warrior) by introducing his sophisticated armor and warfare instruments.

Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, this seminar will offer a comprehensive exploration of the Japanese arts, enabling the audience to understand some essential aspects that have constructed the essence of Japanese culture. Led by architect, journalist and longtime Tokyo resident Rafael A. Balboa.

Architect, PhD. Rafael is currently correspondent for Italian architecture magazine Domus based in Japan and has lived in Tokyo for over 13 years. He received his Master degree and PhD from the University of Tokyo under the guidance of Prof. Kengo Kuma. He is currently a Senior Guest Researcher at The University of Tokyo (Kuma Kengo Laboratory) and guest researcher at Keio University, besides visiting lecturer in other architecture institutions in Japan and abroad. Member of the JIA (Japan Institute of Architects), he co-founded and runs his architecture and urban design practice STUDIO WASABI since 2013. From 2017 he became Director of Casa Nano, an art residency in Tokyo part of Casa Wabi Foundation in Mexico. An avid toy collector, he has a keen interest in the ludic-cultural aspects between people and their cities.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.