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Meet Netsuke

  • Wednesday, March 15, 2017
  • (EDT)
  • Monday, May 15, 2017
  • (EDT)
  • Japan Information and Culture Center

Part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival

Presented by JICC, Embassy of Japan and the Japan-America Society of Washington D.C.

The Japan Information & Culture Center welcomes you to a special spring exhibition of finely-crafted miniature sculptures known as netsuke [pronounced: netz-kay]—brimming with stories of life during Edo period Japan (17c-19c). Displaying meticulous craftsmanship, netsuke began as purely functional accessories but grew in popularity as examples of the era’s eccentric fashion....

Read more:  http://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/jicc/exhibits/netsuke2017.html

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March 15 - May 15, 2017
Mon-Fri, 9AM - 5PM

1150 18th Street NW, Suite 100 | Washington, D.C. 20036-3838
TEL: 202-238-6900 | jicc@ws.mofa.go.jp

We welcome you to visit our special spring exhibition of artful antique netsuke from the Edo period. Netsuke began as purely functional accessories, but grew in popularity as part of the era’s fashion. Common motifs included everything from cute animals to honored elements of nature, frightening mythological figures, playful faces from folklore, and legendary creatures. Each piece has a unique story to share with you about Japan.

A series of related events will take place during the exhibition period, including:

-Opening Night lecture and demonstration “Netsuke - Japan’s Tiny Goodwill Ambassadors” by the distinguished Komada family of netsuke artists on March 15 at JICC, followed by light refreshments. Makiko Komada will give an English lecture on the role that netsuke have played in the historic Japan-U.S. friendship, followed by a talk and demonstration from Ryushi Komada, the number one contemporary netsuke artist in the world and former president of the International Netsuke Carvers’ Association.

-Conversation – Art in the Palm of Your Hand: Netsuke in Japanese. Discover netsuke, artful miniature sculptures from Japan’s Edo period, through a discussion with Freer|Sackler Curator Dr. James Ulak and a demonstration by master netsuke artist Komada Ryushi. A live translation will be provided by Ryushi’s daughter Makiko Komada, board member of the Japan Netsuke Society and author of Netsuke (Kadokawa, 2015). This program is co-presented with the Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler.

-Rakugo Performance by NHK WORLD TV’s Katsura Sunshine – A lively storytelling experience! At JICC on April 10. Katsura Sunshine will delight you with his English-language Rakugo performance, featuring humorous stories on the topics of ukiyo-e and netsuke.

-Grand Finale on May 15 at JICC

-Events for families and children, movie screenings, gallery tours, and more!

For the most updated event schedule and to register for events, please visit the JICC website:


A catalogue of the exhibition will be available for purchase from the Japan-America Society of Washington DC (JASWDC).

Co-presented by JICC and JASWDC. Sponsored by the Freeman Foundation and an anonymous donor. The opening event is also sponsored by ANA. Works loaned courtesy of the Evergreen Museum & Library, Johns Hopkins University Baltimore; and the Beverly and Jay Hopkins Collection. 

The International Netsuke Society is vehemently opposed to the trafficking, trade or commerce of illegal ivory, horn or any other illegal material. We support and comply with all international laws and regulations, including but not limited to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the Endangered Species Act, and the African Elephant Conservation Act.