Outline of Exhibition

Early Modern Japan through Its Parades: Samurai, Foreign Embassies, and Festivals
Period Oct. 16 (Tue),2012 - Dec. 9 (Sun), 2012
Venue Special Exhibition Galleries, National Museum of Japanese History
Admissions Adults: ¥830 (¥560)
Senior high school & college students: ¥450 (¥250)
* Fees in parentheses apply to groups of 20 or more
* Admission to permanent exhibitions included
* Free admission for elementary & junior high school students
* Free admission for senior high school students every Saturday
Hours 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. (entrance closed at 4:00 p.m.)
Closed Oct 22 (Mon), 29 (Mon) , Nov 5 (Mon), 12 (Mon), 19 (Mon), 26 (Mon), Dec 3 (Mon)
Organizer National Museum of Japanese History

展示ポスター

Early modern Japan saw not only processions of sankin-kotai (the daimyo's alternate-year residence in Edo) crossing the Japanese islands to gather regularly at Edo Castle, but also processions of foreign envoys such as the Joseon mission, the envoys of the Ryukyu Kingdom, the chief of the Dutch trading house, etc. heading for Edo. Although the scale was small, government officials of the Shogunate also marched in procession with entourages from Edo to the regions on business trips. This means that large and small processions came and went on the Japanese islands during this period.

It is true that the Sengoku period also saw not only marches of armed groups, but also occasional displays: Nobunaga demonstrated umasoroe to show off the power of warriors, and Hideyoshi presided over the procession of the Emperor to Jurakudai. However, unlike in the early modern period, there were very few such processions, and most of them were seen only in the capital. In this sense, coming and going of processions all over the country would be a phenomenon peculiar to the early modern period. The processions of sankin-kotai had the form of battle groups, but they did not mean real battles. This reflects the change in the situation of warriors when there was no war within or outside the country after the middle of the seventeenth century, together with the notion of the so-called Pax Tokugawa.

The subject of this exhibition is a wide variety of processions from the political processions of warriors/feudal lords other than the Shogun and those of diplomatic envoys, to processions of festivals while showing how the political processions came to incorporate costume parades in the festival processions. After that, the exhibition will shed light on early modern society through the structure of processions, as well as the relationship between those who participated processions and those who saw (or were forced to see) them.

Exhibition Lineup

Part I: Processions of warriors

The “Folding Screen Depicting Scenes of the Attendance of the Daimyo at Edo Castle (Museum collection)” shows a procession of warriors heading for Edo Castle. The pictures relate to the Shogun's visit to the capital and the record pictures show that the procession to the capital itself was the same as the daimyo's procession, which showed off the military prestige of warriors other than the Shogun. Pictures of processions of falconry, weddings, etc. show that the processions represent a society of rulers or warriors, and the scale and the structure of the processions represent the social success of the warriors.

Part II: Processions of foreign envoys

While envoys of the Joseon mission and the Ryukyu Kingdom received the best official treatment (feasts, for example) as did diplomatic envoys, people were permitted to see the processions with “good manners” along the roadside, and many people actually saw the processions with printed guidebooks in their hands. The envoys also prepared their costumes and played rujigaku to please the eyes and ears of the spectators, which changed processions into those with the theme of costume parade in urban festivals as seen in “Processions of Foreigners.”

Part III: Processions of festivals

Aside from the festivals that originated in the ancient and medieval periods, this section will deal mainly with the festivals created in the castle towns developed in the early modern period. It should be noted that (costume) parades of foreigners became part of these festivals. This section will also introduce the processions of feudal lords, which were incorporated as a “subject” in popular entertainment.

Part IV: Epilogue

Aside from the festivals that originated in the ancient and medieval periods, this section will deal mainly with the festivals created in the castle towns developed in the early modern period. It should be noted that (costume) parades of foreigners became part of these festivals. This section will also introduce the processions of feudal lords, which were incorporated as a “subject” in popular entertainment.

【Main Artifacts】

* The exhibition materials will be changed during the period.

Folding Screen Depicting Edo (Replica, museum collection)
Folding Screen Depicting Scenes of the Attendance of the Daimyo at Edo Castle (Museum collection)
Picture Scroll Depicting a Scene of Sankin-Kotai of the Matsuyama Domain (Museum collection)
Picture of the Procession of Ako Castle Uketori Wakisaka Awajinokami (Collection of Ako-Oishi Shrine)
Folding Screen Depicting Scenes of the Procession of the Joseon Mission (Collection of an individual)
Procession of Ryukyu Envoy Kin Ouji (Collection of the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library)
Picture Scroll Depicting a Scene of the Journey of the Ryukyu Envoys (Museum collection)
Picture of Worship of Kiyo Suwa Myojin (Collection of Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library)
Picture of the Tsuchiura Festival (Collection of Tsuchiura City Museum)
Scenery of Popular Tokaido Sights: Takanawa Cowhouse by Kawanabe Kyosai (Collection of Edo-Tokyo Museum)
Dolls of the Daimyo's Procession (Collection of Tokyo National Museum)
Picture of the Procession of Arigimi Leaving the Capital (Collection of an individual)

About 125 artifacts including the above will be displayed.

 
Folding Screen Depicting Scenes of the Attendance of the Daimyo at Edo Castle
(Museum collection)
 
Picture Scroll Depicting a Scene of Sankin-Kotai of the Matsuyama Domain
(Museum collection)
 
Picture of the Procession of Ako Castle Uketori Wakisaka Awajinokami
(Collection of Ako-Oishi Shrine)
 
Plate of Maki-e Depicting Figures and Landscape with an Emblem
(Museum collection)
 
Folding Screen Depicting Scenes of Welcoming the Joseon Mission (Right-hand Screen)
(Collection of Sennyu-ji)
 
Folding Screen Depicting Scenes of the Procession of the Joseon Mission
(Collection of an individual)
 
Picture Scroll Depicting a Scene of the Journey of Ryukyu Envoys (Partial view)
(Museum collection)
 
Folding Screen Depicting Scenes of the Butterfly Dance
(Museum collection)

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