This display explored the experiences and expressive visions of internationally acclaimed Japanese women artists from the 1960s to the 2010s.
Focused on six visually striking works created in a range of mediums, it shone a spotlight on the personal lives and meditations of each artist and the subjects of their work. The featured artists are Shinoda Tōkō, Yoshida Chizuko, Kobayashi Kiyoko, Furuta Miyuki, Kawauchi Rinko and Yamamoto Akane.
As well as highlighting the artists' individual stories, the display invited visitors to reflect on wider issues and debates surrounding gender inequality. This was brought into sharp focus in Japan in 2021 following a senior male politician's remarks in which he praised the women in his team that didn't talk for too long. He used the Japanese verb wakimaeru, meaning 'to understand the correct order and customs and to act accordingly.'
In the shadow of this controversy, the resulting backlash and a recent report indicating the country's stark gender gap, this show offered an intimate glimpse into the lives of women navigating contemporary Japanese society, amplifying the six artists' stories, and celebrating the universal resonance of their work.
These displays were made possible by the support of The Asahi Shimbun Company, longstanding corporate sponsors of the British Museum. The Asahi Shimbun is a Japanese leading newspaper and the company also provides a substantial information service via the internet. The company has a century-long tradition of philanthropic support, notably staging key exhibitions in Japan on art, culture and history from around the world. In addition to the Asahi Shimbun Displays, The Asahi Shimbun Company is a committed supporter of the British Museum touring exhibition programme in Japan, and funder of The Asahi Shimbun Gallery of Amaravati sculpture in Room 33a.