JAPAN: Tradition. Innovation.

May 2, 2011

Posted on: 02/05/2011

JAPAN: Tradition. Innovation. uncovers the
resilient, innovative spirit of Japan

Gatineau, Quebec, April 26, 2011 — A major exhibition exploring the historical roots of cutting-edge Japanese technology and design will open at the Canadian Museum of Civilization on May 20, 2011. Presenting Sponsor of the exhibition is Subaru Canada, Inc.

JAPAN: Tradition. Innovation. is the product of years of close collaboration between the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the National Museum of Japanese History in Sakura, Japan.

Following the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11, Museum representatives contacted their Japanese partners and the Embassy of Japan in Ottawa to express their heartfelt sympathy to the people of Japan and their concern for the safety of their Japanese colleagues and friends. 

The Ambassador of Japan to Canada, His Excellency Kaoru Ishikawa, expressed his deep appreciation for the heartwarming response of all Canadians, and reiterated Japan’s desire to move forward with the opening of the exhibition, as scheduled.

“We are confident that with the warm encouragement from the world Japan will soon stand strong again,” said Ambassador Ishikawa. “We believe that the innovative spirit of our citizens is a crucial resource for our rebuilding and this exhibition will showcase Japan’s creativity in action.” 

JAPAN: Tradition. Innovation.  celebrates a centuries-long Japanese tradition of innovation. Canadians may be surprised to discover that items that have put Japan on the leading edge of contemporary design its revolutionary robotics, edgy art and trend-setting fashion echo earlier Japanese innovations that date back as far as the early 1600s.  

“There’s been huge international interest in Japan in recent years because of the popularity of cultural exports such as animé productions as well as Japan’s technological genius,” says Dr. Victor Rabinovitch, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. “This exhibition takes Canadian audiences a step further by showing very concretely how contemporary Japanese design draws much of its inspiration from the historic Edo period, from 1603 to 1867.” 

Contemporary comic books (manga), for example, have a similar cultural function to 19th-century woodblock prints(ukiyo-e), while today’s complex industrial robots can be seen as the descendants of 200-year old mechanized dolls(karakuri ningyo).

JAPAN: Tradition. Innovation. is a testament to Japan’s enduring spirit of creativity and to the resilience that is now being drawn upon to help the nation rebuild.

If you would like to make a gesture of personal support, the Museum invites you to contact the Embassy of Japan or the Canadian Red Cross.

JAPAN: Tradition. Innovation. will be presented from May 20 to October 10, 2011 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec.

The exhibition was developed by the Canadian Museum of Civilization with the assistance of the National Museum of