Wednesday, October 13, 2010
“静 嘉 堂” Seikado is the studio name of Yanosuke Iwasaki.
This collection of important cultural materials was started around 1892 by Yanosuke Iwasaki, the second president of the Mitsubishi Company, who retained and admiration for Far Eastern culture, which had fallen into neglect during the period of the Westernization of Japan during the Meiji period (1868-1912), and wished to preserve such cultural materials and prevent them from becoming scattered and lost. The collection was enlarged and strengthened by the founder’s son Koyata Iwasaki, Mitsubishi’s fourth president.
In 1940, Koyata Iwasaki created the Seikado Foundation and donated the entire collection of books, the building and the land, as well as funds for maintaining the collection. Koyata also hoped to establish an art museum, but World War II intervened. At his death, in December, 1945, however, he bequeathed some 200 masterworks from his art collection to the foundation.
Koyata’s dream was realized in 1976 when his heir, Tadao Iwasaki, donated the remaining works of art from Koyata’s collection and Exhibit Gallery to the foundation.
In 1992, in commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Seikado collection, a new art museum was opened and activities in this area greatly expanded. (References: Mitsubishi Corporation, Seikado Foundation)