Project Professor, The University Museum, the University of Tokyo / Museum Technology, History of Art
Born in 1952. Attended the University of Tokyo Doctoral course of the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology until 1983. PhD in Literature. Currently Professor (Museum Technology/History of Art) and Director of the University Museum, the University of Tokyo (UMUT).
Main publications: 15th Century Provençal Painting (1994, Iwanami Shoten), Trilogy on Museum Technology: Museology, The University Museum, 21st Century Museum (1995, 1996, 2000, The University of Tokyo Press), Considerations on Book Design (2000, Genpusha), Microcosmographia (2004, Heibonsha), Czech Avant-Garde (2006, Heibonsha), Trilogy of Yoshihiko Ueda Photobooks: Chamber of Curiosities – from the Collection of the University of Tokyo, One Hundred Stonewares, Biosophia of Birds (2006, 2008, 2008, The University of Tokyo Press), Western Art Bibliography (2009, The University of Tokyo Press). Has also authored numerous joint publications and translations.
Exhibition curation and catalogues: The Morphology of Eastern Asia, The Letters of History, The Archaeology of Science, Between Authenticity and Falsity, The Čapek Brothers and Czech Avant-Garde, Mark Dion’s Chamber of Curiosities, Propaganda 1904-1945, Global Souk, Mobilemuseum, The University of Tokyo Collection – Mannerist Natural History by Yoshihiko Ueda, Biosophia of Birds, Ishin and France: The Dawn of Scientific Relationships Between Japan and France.
Prizes: Shibusawa-Claudel Prize (1994), Takeo Prize (for publications and for design) (2008), Display Design Prize (First Prize, Asahi Newspaper Prize) (2008).
1) Promotion of experimental exhibitions
I organize and realize various special exhibitions which aim at digging out the potential value contained in each of the scientific specimens accumulated in the University, through a new approach on them diverging from a conventional, specialized one. My main fields of research are the composition of a space in which the realm of things and the realm of information coexist harmoniously, the investigation on the possibilities of a functional and aesthetic transmission through exhibitions, the creation of 21st-Century exhibition methods.
2) Research and theorization of Museum Technology
By reexamining the museum from various angles such as the legal and administrative system, facilities equipment, architecture, management, scientific research, civic life, accumulation of information or spectacle, I aim at the foundation of a new discipline which allows for a global comprehension and discussion of the scientific, technical and practical knowledge on museums. Part of the results of this research are published in catalogues (notably the Trilogy on Museum Technology (University of Tokyo Press) and the University of Tokyo Collection series), as well as in reports on visitor surveys.
3) Promotion of computerization
While promoting the digitalization of information pertaining to the scientific specimens accumulated in the museum, I develop research on computerization methods relevant for the individual attributes of each specimen, as well as on the possible directions for a digital archive system in the near future (notably through the Globalbase system).
4) Research on cultural heritage conservation science
In collaboration with the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, I am conducting research on Christian iconography in the late Middle Ages in Europe, and more particularly on the material composition and dating of altar paintings produced in the Southern French region of Provence. The fruits of this research are published in a specific report.
5) Research on art bibliography
I am collecting antique books (from the 16th to the 18th Centuries) related the history of western art and producing a bibliographical annotation of each (currently on 2000 volumes). In the same manner, I am collecting periodicals related to 20th-Century avant-garde movements (400 titles now) and Japanese modern art journals (100 titles currently). Part of this research was published as Considerations on Book Design, Considerations on the History of Avant-Garde Journals and Czech Avant-Garde.
6) Research on publishing and printing culture
I am conducting research on printed material from the Meiji to early Showa era, considered as a fruit of typographic printing techniques resulting from the development of modern Japan. I am also collecting historical material related to typographic printing, such as modern types, matrixes of printing types and printing machines. The results nourished the UMUT exhibitions The Letters of History, Between Authenticity and Falsity and Propaganda.
7) Research on the methods of renovating cultural facilities run by local governments
Regarding the renovation of museum and cultural facilities either directly run by local governments or publicly established and privately managed, in localities such as Shiga prefecture, Nagano or Aomori, I am conducting research on possible future developments by considering a vision of the future as well as visitor surveys.
8) Research on the methods of outsourcing the results of scientific research conducted in the University Museum
Along with museum facilities outside the University, I am conducting research on practical ways to return to society the fruits of scientific research obtained through such activities as experimental exhibitions, by associating exhibition packaging, collaborations between Industry and Academia, corporate sponsorship and volunteer activities. Currently, this research is embodied by the Mobilemuseum Project and the Asian Network of Scientific Specimens.