Director’s Message

The JP Tower, which houses KITTE, is a high-rise building in the Marunouchi District of Tokyo, where traditional architecture like the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station appears side by side with cutting-edge commercial complexes of the contemporary era. Inside the JP Tower, the visitor encounters natural history specimens—minerals, fossils, living creatures, ethnoarchaeological materials, and more— that seem out of place, and yet, displayed alongside university furniture dating back a century or more, conjure up an atmosphere of great majesty.

This space that initially appears rather curious is the Intermediatheque, which opened in 2013. Created by the operator of JP Tower and KITTE, JAPAN POST Co., Ltd. in partnership with The University Museum, the University of Tokyo. Continuing to research what a museum should be, the Intermediatheque is a public facility for pursuing the role of the museum in the contemporary era.

The “media” in the name refers to means of conveying information. In recent years, this has often been understood as online media like social media. The Intermediatheque, however, believes that objects and sites where we can see or feel something are nodes for various means of transmitting information. This idea aligns with what archaeological and anthropological studies show regarding the sources of communication in ancient times, when there were no written languages or images. The messages that these objects and sites articulate differ in location or in how the viewer receives them, forming a mirror that reflects society itself.

Today, when the nature of media is undergoing such incredible change, what form should a museum take? To consider this, the Intermediatheque focuses on the importance of creating an exhibition space that once again optimizes objects, the starting point for media long used by humans, and of providing a place for thinking together with visitors.

When academic specimens and furniture from the University of Tokyo campus are exhibited in a museum located inside a commercial complex in Marunouchi, they take on an entirely different meaning. Visitors are encouraged first to wander around the space without considering the captions and written explanations, and enjoy the messages that the individual exhibits and space convey. Your feedback and understanding would be a great help in this endeavor to explore the role and further development of a museum.

Yoshihiro Nishiaki
Director, Intermediatheque
April 2022