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About Japan Cultural Expo

Introducing the arts of Japan to the world under the overarching theme “Humanity and Nature in Japan: Exploring the Arts from Antiquity to the Present,”

The Japan Cultural Expo is a nationwide celebration of Japanese arts and culture, designed to appeal to a broad domestic and international audience through a diverse program of content, including exhibitions, performing arts productions, and arts festivals.

Led by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the Japan Arts Council, it is a collaborative, inter-agency project drawing on the cooperation of numerous public- and private-sector partners. One of the Expo's chief objectives is to attract international visitors to destinations beyond Japan's main urban centers before, during, and after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Initiatives nationwide leverage the distinctive cultural resources of communities and regions across Japan, including disaster-affected areas.

The Expo was launched in March 2019 and is currently scheduled to run until March 2021 showcasing Japan's 10,000-year artistic and cultural heritage. Content is divided into eight categories spanning subjects such as fine art, cultural treasures, the performing arts, media arts, music, literary arts, food and nature, daily life, design, and fashion. This comprehensive initiative also explores the arts in the context of multiculturalism, the creation of an inclusive society, and recovery from natural disasters.

Programming in 2020

Arts festivals and similar events will be held across Japan celebrating regional art, cultural properties, performing arts, and cuisine, as well as contemporary art and performances in scenic, natural surroundings. All programs will be held before, during, and after the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. The Expo will also feature a number of hands-on events for visitors from abroad, offering enjoyable, firsthand experiences of Japanese culture.

During the Japan Cultural Expo, exhibitions will be held pairing ancient classics with contemporary masterpieces, such as exhibits of recognized masterworks passed down for centuries, including National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties, and exhibits that introduce conservation techniques used to protect and preserve cultural properties made of natural materials.

In the performing arts, programs will feature traditional drama and dance performances such as Kabuki, Noh, and Bunraku puppet theater with nature-related themes. Programs will also include new, contemporary operas and ballets portraying scenes involving humanity and nature.

In the textile arts, the iconic kimono has historically been decorated in patterns derived from nature and visitors can enjoy an exhibition of kimonos from the 12th century to today. An exhibition of fashion from the post-war period to the contemporary period will also be held.

An exhibition exploring the diverse natural ingredients and history of human ingenuity behind Japanese cuisine will be held. There will also be an exhibition of Japan's architectural masterpieces from the 6th century onwards.

The Japan Cultural Expo will also provide the chance for visitors to taste traditional foods, including local specialties, and to visit temples and residences that have been preserved and maintained amidst daunting natural challenges.

In addition to the programming presented here, a new roster of programs to be held across Japan will be released in April 2020.