Japan Art News | Art Exhibitions that Were Popular in Japan in 2022



Art Exhibitions that Were Popular in Japan in 2022

Various art exhibitions took place across Japan in 2022.

In this context, the Yomiuri Shimbun’s art information website ‘Bijutsu Ten Navi (Art Exhibition Navi)’ has announced the ‘Top 20 Best Art Exhibitions of 2022, Chosen by Everyone’.

In this section, we would like to look back at the Japanese art exhibitions ranked here.

Firstly, the overall results for the 20th to 11th places are as follows.

  • No.20 “Echoing Treasures: The Brightness of Yōhen and Rimpa” ( Seikadō Bunko Art Museum )
  • No.19 “Impressionism: Genealogy of Light” ( Mitsubishi Ichigōkan Museum, Abeno Harukas Museum of Art)
  • No.18 “Unkei: The Kamakura Shogunate and the Miura Clan” (Yokosuka Museum of Art, Kanagawa Prefectural Kanazawa Bunko)
  • No.17 “Gabrielle Chanel Exhibition” ( Mitsubishi Ichigōkan Museum )
  • No.16 “Kaburaki Kiyokata, 50 years after his death” (The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto)
  • No.15 “Terracotta Warriors and Ancient China” ( Kyoto Kyocera Museum of Art, Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya City Museum, The Ueno Royal Museum)
  • No.14 “Unraveling Japanese Art: The Imperial Family and the Treasure Box of Beauty” (The University Art Museum, Tokyo University of the Arts)
  • No.13 “Exhibition: Okamoto Tarō” (Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum)
  • No.12 “Kūya Priest and Rokuharamitsuji Temple” ( Tokyo National Museum)
  • No.11 “Golden Kamui Exhibition” ( Tokyo Dome City Gallery ARMO, Kyoto Culture Museum, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum)


“Echoing Treasures: The Brightness of Yōhen and Rimpa” (Seikadō Bunko Art Museum)

The first exhibition of note in terms of Japanese art is the 20th-ranked Seikadō Bunko exhibition.


The Seikadō Bunko Art Museum, which moved to Marunouchi this year, seems to have received a lot of support for its powerful exhibition.

I also went to see this exhibition and was very satisfied with it.

I was fascinated by Sakai Hōitsu’s ‘Wave Screens,’ not to mention the main attraction, the Yōhen Tenmoku teacup.

Please refer to the video of the repo if you would like to see the Japanese version only.


Unkei: Kamakura Shogunate and the Miura Clan

The Unkei exhibition is next in 18th place.


Unkei has attracted a lot of attention this year, partly due to the influence of the historical drama.

I also have a special attachment to Unkei because I did in-depth research on the Kei school, including Unkei, in my videos ‘The History of Buddhist Statues’.

Click here to watch videos (in Japanese only) about ‘The History of the Buddha Statue’.



Click here for a report on the national treasure by Unkei’s younger apprentice, Kaikei.


50 years after the end of Kaburaki Kiyokata

Next up is the Kaburaki Kiyokata exhibition, ranked 16th.

It is no exaggeration to say that this is the star of the Japanese art exhibition for the first half of 2022.

The exhibition was held in Tokyo followed by a series of long-term (March-July) exhibitions in Kyoto.

They were all excellent works that showed why Kaburaki Kiyokata’s works are still loved by so many people.

Click here to watch a video about the life of Kaburaki Kiyokata (Japanese Only).


Click here to watch a video of the exhibition repo. (Japanese Only)


Unraveling Japanese Art: The Imperial Family and the Treasure Box of Beauty

Next is the ‘Unraveling Japanese Art Exhibition’, which is in 14th place.

After all, 10 of the 30 paintings in Itō Jakuchū’s series of Dōshoku Sai-e (Colorful Realm of Living Beings) paintings, designated as national treasures in 2021, were on display at the exhibition.

As this is the first time the Dōshoku Sai-e has been exhibited after its designation as a National Treasure, I made an explanatory video of them. Please kindy see the below video. (Japanese Only)


Kūya Priest and Rokuharamitsuji Temple

This is followed by the Kūya Priest exhibition in 12th place.

Kūya (903-972) was a monk of the mid-Heian period and is regarded as the first recorded practitioner of the Shōmyō Nembutsu, the recitation of the name of the Buddha “Namu Amidabutsu” with the mouth, in Japan, and as a pioneer of Pure Land Buddhism and Nembutsu belief in Japan.

He is also famous as the first monk to practise Odori Nembutsu, the dancing Buddhist chanting made famous by Ippen.

The year 2022 marks the 1,050th anniversary of the death of Kūya, and this exhibition was held to mark the occasion.

Various Buddhist sculptures, including a statue of Kūya made by Unkei’s son, Kōshō, were on display and attracted a lot of attention.


The results for positions 10 to 1 are then as follows.

  • No. 10 “Who is Banksy?” ( Global Gate Garage Nagoya, Grand Front Osaka, etc.)
  • No. 9 Special Exhibition “Poison” ( National Museum of Science )
  • No. 8 The Rose of Versailles exhibition (Tokyo City View, Hankyū Umeda)
  • No. 7 Special exhibition ‘Jewels’ ( National Museum of Nature and Science, Nagoya City Science Museum )
  • No. 6 Ghibli Park and the Ghibli Exhibition ( Nagano Prefectural Museum of Art, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art )
  • No. 5 Special Exhibition “Pompeii” ( Tokyo National Museum, Kyoto Kyocera Museum of Art, Miyagi Prefectural Museum of Art, Kyushu National Museum)
  • No. 4 The Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition ( Osaka Municipal Museum of Art, The National Art Center, Tokyo )
  • No. 3 Vermeer and 17th century Dutch painting ( Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, Osaka Municipal Museum of Art, Miyagi Museum of Art )
  • No. 2 National Treasure: All About the Tokyo National Museum (Tokyo National Museum)
  • No. 1 Hanyū Yuzuru Exhibition 2022 (Nihonbashi Takashimaya, Toyama Yamato, Niigata Isetan, JR Nagoya Takashimaya, Osaka Takashimaya, Fujisaki)


National Treasure: All About the Tokyo National Museum

The number of Japanese art exhibitions ranked here is small, but to the surprise of many, the Tokyo National Museum’s National Treasure Exhibition, the star exhibition of the second half of 2022, is ranked in second place.

This exhibition was so unprecedentedly popular that tickets were sold out immediately, although advance booking was required.

In response, the session was unusually extended by a week!

It was truly a legendary exhibition that will go down in history.

We made a preparatory video for this exhibition six months before the exhibition, put out a video with precautions just before the exhibition, put out a long report video and issued breaking news about the extension of the exhibition, so we really have fond memories of this exhibition, which we have followed throughout 2022.

A playlist of videos related to the ‘National Treasure Exhibition’ is below. (Japanese Only)


There were many art exhibitions in 2022, and there are many more Japanese art exhibitions to look forward to in 2023.

Let’s enjoy the year ahead and see what kind of drama will emerge.