Mizuta Museum of Art, Josai International University
Josai International University’s Mizuta Museum of Art opened, in commemoration
of the 10th anniversary of the university’s founding, on the 1st floor
of the three-story Mizuta Memorial Library in April, 2001.
The museum owns The Mizuta Collection, began as a collection of over 200
paintings with a concentration on ukiyo-e works gathered together by Mikio
Mizuta, founder of Josai University Educational Corporation, and ukiyo-e
works and modern woodblock prints featuring landscapes of Chiba and Chiba-related
The museum holds, in conjunction with university events, a Mizuta Collection exhibition as well as exhibitions with themes related to the university and the surrounding area or with subject matter associated with ukiyo-e. Lectures, informal talks, and gallery talks conducted by the museum’s curatorial staff also are offered.
The Mizuta Museum of Art strives to be a place where students may further
their studies, as well as a cultural institution where locals may spend
Mikio Mizuta and the Road to the Mizuta Museum of Art
||April 13, Mikio Mizuta born in Chiba Prefecture, Awa County, Soro Village.
||During his studies at Kyoto Imperial University, he became interested in
ukiyo-e and purchased several works before the war, but he lost them in
||Runs in the 22nd election for a seat in the House of Representatives as
a member of the Liberal Party; his first election. After the war, he again started collecting ukiyo-e.
||1st Ikeda Cabinet, becomes Minister of Finance; after this, for seven consecutive
terms over a period of twelve years, serves as Minister of Finance.
||He contributed with “The Joy of Ukiyo-e” to the “Mizuta Collection Feature”(Ukiyo-e Quarterly, Vol. 6 Special Issue, Ryokuen Shobo).
||Founds Josai University, an incorporated educational institution (Saitama
Prefecture, Sakado City); becomes the university’s first chief director
||In China, holds a Katsushika Hokusai exhibition; visits China as the lead
delegate in a Japan-China cultural exchange effort.。
||December 22, untimely death due to illness at age 71.
Mizuta Collection donated to the incorporated educational institution, Josai University.
||Mizuta Museum of Art at Josai University opens.
||Josai International University (Chiba Prefecture, Tōgane City) opens.
||Gallery established on the 3rd floor of the Central Building of Josai International
University; spring and autumn Mizuta Collection special exhibitions begin.。
||Tenth anniversary of the opening of Josai International University; Mizuta
Museum of Art, Josai International University opens on the 1st floor of
the Library Building.
||The Mizuta family is donating to the museum Suzuki Harunobu's Six Tama Rivers.
||Mizuta Museum of Art, Josai University is reopening after refurbishment.
||The Mizuta family is donating to the museum five ukiyo-e paintings, including
Miyagawa Chōshun’s Genre Scenes in Edo, as well as seven modern Japanese paintings, including Uemura Shōen’s
Beauty Enjoying the Evening Cool.
"The Joy of Ukiyo-e," Mikio Mizuta
I am humbled as well as delighted to hear that my collection will be introduced
with commentary in a special issue of the Ukiyo-e Quarterly. I have an interesting story about how I came to devote myself to Ukiyo-e
art. It all began thirty-five years ago.
When I was a university student, I was listening one day to a long lecture on so-called “secret pictures” in Ukiyo-e by a certain professor who was famous for his study of the muscles and soles of the feet of Japanese people. Unlike other commentaries focusing on aesthetic appreciation, such as those by Eiji Yoshida, this lecturer explained the pictures exclusively from the standpoint of an anatomist. He said that whether the artist was Harunobu, Kiyonaga, or Utamaro, all true masters of the craft were able to draw with anatomical accuracy the moment to moment changes in position and the subtle movements of the fingers and toes. At the end of the lecture, the professor laughed and said, “I have been engaged in the study of anatomy for forty years. Thanks to that, I discovered ‘secret pictures’ and gained an appreciation of Ukiyo-e.”
In the audience that day was Professor Hajime Kawakami—a man famous for his solemnity—who was impressed most deeply by the lecture. I can still vividly recollect his slender, crane-like appearance, and how he often repeated to us that becoming expert in an art was worthy of respect. As we were young students, the lecture stimulated our interest in Ukiyo-e. After that we began memorizing the names of Ukiyo-e artists, one after another.
Isamu Yoshii’s tanka (thirty-one syllable poem) caused me to become interested in Sharaku. Needless to say, however, I could not afford to obtain Sharaku’s works at that time.
There is no doubt that Ukiyo-e are beautiful. A special nostalgia for Japan’s
history runs deeply through the art. When people observe closely the beautiful
women and genre scenes in Ukiyo-e, they feel affection for the Japanese
folk, and their love for the nation can spontaneously become stronger.
Prime Minister Ikeda has said, “The people’s love for stones can lead directly
to their love for the nation.” I have the greatest respect for his grasp
of politics. It seems to me, however, that rather than stones, the beautiful
women in Ukiyo-e are more pleasing. Therefore, I believe that a good political
culture which is firmly rooted in love of nation and homeland would possibly
be born if all of Japan’s politicians (including ruling party and opposition
party) become a lover of Ukiyo-e instead of engaging in slow-down tactics
that block political action.
(Ukiyo-e Quarterly, Vol. 6 Special Issue, Ryokuen Shobo; September, 1963)