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Re: Tokyo, Tobacco & salt Museum 'Netsuke and Sagemono'-Accessories for Kimono- exhibition

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:48 pm
by DSW90049
Kerry, your account of everybody crawling around to see the pieces was hilarious.
What a visual!

Thanks for coming to, and contributing to our INS Forum.

Re: Tokyo, Tobacco & salt Museum 'Netsuke and Sagemono'-Accessories for Kimono- exhibition

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 5:47 pm
by lohrberg
Dear Kerry,
your rather provocative report on the current exhibition in the TOBACCO & SALT MUSEUM in Tokyo needs an objective rectification.
First I should say, that the exhibition, titled Netsuke and Sagemono - Accessories for Kimono was not originated by the Museum. The reason for this exhibition is the 40'th Anniversary of the founding of the Nihon Netsuke Kenkyukai. A former president was the well known Watanabe Masanori. At the moment there is a Lady President, and as there will be a change in the presideny soon, a member of the INS, Akabane Katsuhide will probably follow.
The current exhibition shows 460 objects, mostly netsuke among related items. All pieces belong to members of the Japanese Netsuke Society. Just to mention, that from my friend Shimatani-san's collection, five pieces are exhibited. All exhibits were selected by well known members with high expertise. The opening party on 1'st of April was attended by Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado and other persons, who are known to us from western countries.
The Japanese Netsuke Society had a previous exhibition with the 20'th anniversary 20 years ago and another one 10 years ago. Then they had chosen Mikimoto Hall in Ginza. Now they decided for the Tobacco & Salt Museum. This Museum knows how to do such an event. I remind of the famous exhibition from October 28'th to December 3'rd 1995. Netsuke from Japan and from international collectors were on display. I am sure Joseph Kurstein will get a smile alll over his face, because many of his best netsuke could be seen. I just looked them up in the faboulous catalogue.
Another exhibition was held in this museum to honour the late Prince Takamado. I went there at the time and liked it. It had been a big succes for the museum.

I for myself visited the current exhibition on Tuesday April 5'th between 11 a.m. and 01:30 p.m. During these two and a half hours about 15 to 20 visitors were present. The athmoshere was calm and undesturbing.

In my life I saw many netsuke exhibitions in connection with the INS Conventions (Boston, Miami, Chicago, London, New York etc) and others like Lacma, British Museum, Metropolitan Museum, Sannenzaka Museum Kyoto, Osaka Municipal Museum, Linden Museum etc. The current exhibition in Sumida-ku in Tokyo stands in line to these famous museums, I mention before.
I am sorry to say: Your criticism is wrong.
And I am surprised, that your post was praised by some persons, who obviously had not seen the exhibition. They were, may be fascinated by your writing style, which I agree gives the reader a smile. You know well to write a text, that prevents the reader from falling asleep. But when you make an exhibition review it needs reliability.

Since I guess authorities from the T & S Museum and members of the Nihon Netsuke Kenkyukai are not reading the Forum, so they cannot defend themselves. I feel I have to step forward to make this correction.


Re: Tokyo, Tobacco & salt Museum 'Netsuke and Sagemono'-Accessories for Kimono- exhibition

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 7:57 pm
by Tama
Reinhard, since you have visited the T & S Museum, will you please give us your review of the exhibits? It would be much appreciated.


Re: Tokyo, Tobacco & salt Museum 'Netsuke and Sagemono'-Accessories for Kimono- exhibition

Posted: Sun May 01, 2016 7:27 am
by souldeep
Hi Reinhard,

After writing my response I did have a moment of sensitivity regarding those that set up such a great event. I decided that those reading would see the funny side and not take offence. It is meant in a light hearted manner.

As Jill suggests... Maybe you could share your experience of the event as you have been fortunate enough to get there first hand.

Re: Tokyo, Tobacco & salt Museum 'Netsuke and Sagemono'-Accessories for Kimono- exhibition

Posted: Tue May 03, 2016 9:02 am
by lohrberg
What is exhibited in the Tobacco & Salt Museum?
To give a review would need to make notes, which I did not (except of one part, see below). From remembrance the following can be said:

The exhition started to explain the system of the sagemono, not only showing 1 netsuke, 1 ojime and 1 inro for example. There were variations: 1 netsuke, the cord meandering into two with a pouch and an inro, and even with a third hanging species. Let me say, 1 netsuke with a bundle of items. I saw this before on paintings, which I do not have handy now.

Soken Kisho, not only the real booklet was exhibited, but single pages with illustrations and the real netsuke standing aside

a variety of netsuke from early times to 19'th c. This was the main part of the show.

a special section for ojime of all kind, ivory, stag, metal works, enamel, ceramics, many animal motivs

Shibayama section, matching sets of inro and netsuke. A large shibayama 2 panels folded screen of a black lacquer base with much gold in the framing and floral scenes with trees in blossom and small birds and larger fowl sitting on branches. Not everybody's taste, but nevertheless a highlight and an eyecatcher.

So-School, a main part of the exhibition, according to the great interest in Japan for this kind of carvings. We all know, to show a face clearly, is not enough, to show the mood of the person, that's it for So people. Or a blossom, it is not enough to show the single petals. The wind has to be seen, when it moves the petals.
All famous carvers were present: Sosui, Morita Soko, Shoko, Sokoku,Sokei, Gyokuso ........

Pouches are not so much favoured in the west, but are in Japan. Many pouches of all kind of material with matching netsuke, about 20 pieces.

About 25 another pieces of tobacco pouches in combination with pipecases, many of leather.
And about 15 inro with netsuke attached.

Two cabinets to store inro.

A large section of contemporary netsuke, may be about 70 pieces

Frank Morris Jonas
He is known as the author of the book NETSUKE, first edited in 1928. His interesting life is shown with some exhibits and a lot of explaining text. Here I took some notes. The idea was to put them into the book (where they are now).
His father was an Englishman Frederick Maurice Jonas, who was in the tobacco business in Kobe/Osaka, married to his japanese wife Morii Tsuru. Their son Frederick Morris Jonas = japanese name Morii Kamejiro, was born in 1878. He died 1950. He collected netsuke and had a large collection amassed. Many of his netsuke later went to Raymond Bushell. It was not said, if this happened during his lifetime or after his death.
Obviously Bushell was influenced by Jonas. This is my personal guess, but it seems logical. Look into Jonas' book. He is a forrunner of Bushell.
F.M.Jonas is underestimated in the west. May be this was the reason for the Nihon Netsuke Kenkyukai to give him a whole section in the exhibition, even showing his old typewriter.

Last but not least:
I very much appreciated that captions in English were given for none Japanese. Though I have to say, the Japanese text seems longer. May be, they just gave us the essence of it,


Re: Tokyo, Tobacco & salt Museum 'Netsuke and Sagemono'-Accessories for Kimono- exhibition

Posted: Tue May 03, 2016 9:17 am
by chonchon
Great write-up. Very interesting. Many thanks!
Many of the images from this exhibition can be found on the Museum's homepage and also elsewhere on the net, some illustrating what you have just described.
E.g. ... 3vuv23M%3A

And ... 0%E7%B1%A0

Re: Tokyo, Tobacco & salt Museum 'Netsuke and Sagemono'-Accessories for Kimono- exhibition

Posted: Tue May 03, 2016 2:58 pm
by AFNetsuke
It sounds like a really excellent exhibit to me. I'd happily crawl on all fours to view all of that. The section dedicated to Jonas is a nice touch.

Re: Tokyo, Tobacco & salt Museum 'Netsuke and Sagemono'-Accessories for Kimono- exhibition

Posted: Sun May 08, 2016 6:40 pm
by bibeb
Last week I visited the exhibition. It is a very nice exhibition! I only missed english translations for many items.
While looking at the ojime I stumbled upon something that caught my attention. It was an ojime version of a netsuke that I own. It is a carving of three monkeys (hearing, seeing and speaking) with one of the monkeys sitting in a nut. Now i am wondering if anyone could tell me if my netsuke could be connected to the ojime in the exhibition. It is carved by Chikusai

here are some pictures of the netsuke.




Re: Tokyo, Tobacco & salt Museum 'Netsuke and Sagemono'-Accessories for Kimono- exhibition

Posted: Sun May 08, 2016 10:56 pm
by AFNetsuke
Few of us have seen this exhibit. Do you have an image of the ojime you want us to compare?

Re: Tokyo, Tobacco & salt Museum 'Netsuke and Sagemono'-Accessories for Kimono- exhibition

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:05 pm
by lohrberg
some additional remarks to the exhibition in the Tobacco & Salt Museum in connection with F.M. Jonas:

As I said, I took some notes, which I posted earlier. Meanwhile I got the complete english text. Here it is:

"F.M. Jonas, the forgotten scholar of netsuke

The Soken kisho, written by Inaba Tsuryu in Tenmei 1 (1781), marks the beginning of netsuke study in Japan. This was followed by Ueda Reikichi's famous book, Netsuke no kenkyu (The study of netsuke), in Showa 18 (1943), that took a methodical approach to netsuke and even today, it is a must-read among netsuke aficionados. Little known is the fact that, before its publication, Frank Morris Jonas (Japanese name: Morii Kamejiro), who cooperated with Ueda's study of netsuke, had written the book Netsuke to introduce the subject in english, and its 300 limited copies had been published through J. L. Thompson & Co (Retail) Ltd. of Kobe City, Japan, in Showa 3 (1928). His father was Frederick Morris Jonas, an Englishman who came to Yokohama in Meiji 5 (1872) and, at first, worked as an importer of Japanese made leaf tobacco. Frank was born to Frederick and his Japanese mother, Morii Tsuru, in Meiji 11 (1878). When he reached manhood, Frank became a succesful businessman in Kobe and after World War II, he served as liaison for GHQ (General Headquarters, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers) in Kobe, and passed away in Showa 25 (1950). His Western-style house was built in Taisho 8 (1919) in Shioya, the Tarumi district of the city. After the war the house was owned by a good friend of his, and then it was relocated, but for a long time it was popularly known among Kobe citizens as the Ex-Jonas House, that stood in front of the Shioya Station of the JR Kobe Line. Possibly influenced by his father's tobacco business in Japan, Frank collected kiseru (Japanese smoking pipes) and more than 1000 netsuke and kept them in special furniture for their storage and display in his living room, as well as in the building housing the family collection. Many of his netsuke came into the possession of Raymond Bushell (1910 - 1998), who reached Japan soon after the war as a civilian attached to the US Army, later becoming an eminent collector and student of netsuke."

That's the english text. Just a coincidence. The Museum has a famous collection of kiseru, may be some from Frank M. Jonas and his father was in the tobacco business. This all might has given motivation to the museum to spotlight on this forgotten personality,