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A Message from the Director of
the Toyo Bunko Museum



Museum and Public Outreach
Department Head
HIRANO Kenichirō


Hirano Kenichirō was born in 1937. He is a Professor Emeritus at both the University of Tokyo and Waseda University. His research interests are in international relations theory, the history of international relations, and international cultural exchange. We was the first president of the Japan Society for Intercultural Studies, and the third director of the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records of the National Archives of Japan. Among his publications are Cultural Exchange and Conflict between Modern Japan and Asia (近代日本とアジア—文化の交流と摩擦) 1984, and Theories on International Culture (国際文化論) 2002. He has been the Director of the Museum and Public Outreach since 2012.

When Toyo Bunko was established a century ago, the founders included in the Articles of Incorporation a statement of the major activities envisioned for the new corporation. It was to serve as a library, as a research organization, and it was to hold exhibitions. In the years before Toyo Bunko was officially established, two exhibitions marking the establishment were held in Tokyo. The first exhibition “Photos from the Central Asian Explorations of Doctors Stein and Pelliot” was held on the grounds of Tokyo Imperial University in May 1922. The second exhibition “An exhibition marking the founding of Toyo Bunko” was held at Toyo Bunko for three days, November 28-30, 1924. One of the exhibitions was held before the Great Kanto earthquake on September 1, 1923, and the other after, and even today we can sense the energy that went into arranging the exhibitions. Japanese academia at the time was rushing to keep up with the rapid progress made by Western scholars’ work on the Silk Road and anxious to communicate it’s new discoveries to a larger public audience.

When traveling overseas many of you have undoubtedly had the experience of visiting museums where you have observed groups of elementary and junior high school students attentively listening to explanations of the exhibitions by their teachers. Through those visits the students learn about the ways their ancestors lived and deepen their understanding of the unique and universal elements of their own traditions. It is less common to see student groups in Japan visiting museums with their teachers. Toyo Bunko is striving to strengthen the links between the school classroom and our museum, developing programs to invite student groups to visit.

In the next one hundred years, Toyo Bunko will continue to strengthen its position as a “research library,” and at the same time build on its “infrastructure of knowledge” through its position as a “Book Museum.” We look forward to your continuing support.

Hirano Kenichirō, Director
Toyo Bunko Museum

Museum Calendar


10:00a.m. - 5:00p.m. (Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time.)
Every Tuesday closed