Outline of Exhibition

Japanese morning glory 2003

The culture of Japanese morning glory cultivation of the late Edo period is unique in world horticultural history, with the creation and maintenance of a vast number of mutant morning glory strains. This tradition has been passed down through the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa periods, leaving a distinct imprint in the cultures of each era. Since mediaeval times, Japan has been one of the world's largest horticultural centers and the morning glory ("asagao") has traditionally been one of the main species to be cultivated in this country. Shedding light on this unique tradition, therefore, should inspire new understanding of the characteristics of Japanese life and culture, as well as of technological advancement in Japan.

Since 1999 the National Museum of Japanese History has collected morning glory strains, including those which have just barely been maintained since the Edo period. Every year since then, the Museum has held the special exhibition, "Japanese Morning Glory - The Tradition". With the exception of a few genetic research centers, the National Museum of Japanese History is the only facility in existence today that collects and maintains these strains. The Museum, therefore, bears the responsibility of organizing continuous exhibitions which will serve to promote deeper and better understanding of Japanese culture and cultural history.

This year's exhibit brings together the various strains collected and maintained to date, emphasizing the historical timeline of those strains and families of morning glory which have been the focus of popularity from the late Edo period up to the present. The exhibit will feature mutant masaki and demono strains cultivated since the late Edo period, as well as a family of masaki plants, the "Tairin Asagao", cultivated since the Meiji and Taisho periods. Western varieties of morning glory, cultivated mostly in Europe, will also be on display to provide a comparison to their Japanese counterparts in the corresponding periods.

Dates Tuesday, August 12 through Sunday, August 31, 2003
Venue The Botanical Garden of Everyday Life, The National Museum of Japanese History
Admissions Included in general admission fee
Hours 9:30 - 16:30 (visitors admitted into Garden no later than 16:00)