Outline of Exhibition

Traditional Japanese Morning Glories

Traditional Japanese Morning Glories

Cherished in Japan since long ago, Japan experienced a number of morning glory ("asagao") booms, particularly in the latter part of the Edo period during the Bunka and Bunsei eras (1804-1830) and the Kaei and Ansei eras (1848-1860) and on into the Meiji and Taisho eras (1868-1926), when breeders enjoyed creating diverse new leaves and flowers. These flowers are known as "mutant morning glories," and today there remain many books and illustrated materials produced from the Edo period onwards that go by the generic title "Genealogy of the Morning Glory." The morning glory is an annual, and we now know that in those days mutant morning glory strains were maintained by adopting an advanced method of cultivation, which in terms of present-day genetics is cultivation using the selection of mutations. Unfortunately, however, from the Meiji period these mutant strains were overshadowed by large-blossomed morning glories. Although not very well known today, some of these earlier specimens have survived thanks to the efforts of a small number of enthusiastic growers.

The National Museum of Japanese History has exhibited these living historical resources in order to make the "traditional morning glory" cultivated using original techniques and knowledge more widely known among the general public. With very few institutions in Japan exhibiting mutant morning glories, members of the public and other botanical gardens have considerable expectations for the activities of the Museum's Botanical Garden of Everyday Life. This is the tenth time the Museum has held a morning glory exhibition, and to mark the occasion we have tied this exhibition to a small-scale special exhibition called Japanese Morning Glory - The Tradition" in Gallery 3 (Early Modern period), as well as a lecture planned for August 9 in the Lecture Hall titled "A Decade of Experience with 'Japanese Morning Glory - The Tradition.'"

Period Jul. 29 (Tue) - Sep. 7 (Sun), 2008
Venue Botanical Garden of Everyday Life, National Museum of Japanese History
Admissions ¥100
Groups of 20 or more: ¥50 per person
* Free admission for children junior high school age and younger
* Free admission for high school students every Saturday
Hours 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (no entrance after 4:00 p.m.)
* The Garden will open at 8:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in the last half of August (Aug. 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 and 31)
* Viewing is best in the early morning due to the special way in which these flowers bloom.
Closed Aug. 4 (Mon), 18 (Mon), 25 (Mon), and Sep. 1 (Mon)
Sponsor National Museum of Japanese History

Exhibition Lineup

Mutant morning glories bred and grown at the Botanical Garden of Everyday Life will be on display in pots and planters in the Garden's Azuma-ya, three greenhouses, two rooms of the Yoshizu exhibition hall, and on racks out in a field. Varieties on display will include 58 masaki strains, 23 demono strains, and 20 large-blossomed strains, which include apetalous morning glories and flowers with abnormally growing tips. We are also planning to exhibit six closely related species of morning glory from Europe, Asia and other regions. In this year's exhibition we have included a small display focusing on morning glories featured in the "Genealogy of the Morning Glory" dating from the first boom which occurred in the Bunka and Bunsei eras (1804-1830).


Yellow cicada leaf, chestnut brown, fully-open, large-blossomed flower (Danjuro)


Yellow dragonfly maple leaf, tube-white, side-reduced flower


Green, cordate delicate leaves, red, margined, side-reduced, duplicate flowe


Green, round delicate leaves, apetalous duplicate flower


Green, crumpled, semi-contracted willow leaf, white-pink delicate flower


Green, variegated, star-contracted princess leaf, dwarf, magenta, margined, fully-open, duplicate small flower


Note: Please note that items in the exhibition are subject to change.