The Metropolitan Edo-Tokyo Museum opened its doors in March 1993 as a space to reflect on the history and culture of Edo-Tokyo and envision the city and life of the future. Housed in a unique building modeled after an elevated-floor type warehouse, the museum has been a landmark and popular tourist attraction in Tokyo since its opening.
The permanent exhibition, showcasing original objects and replicas, offers visitors a journey through the 400-year history of Edo-Tokyo since Tokugawa Ieyasu entered Edo. In addition to the permanent exhibition, the museum holds special exhibitions at the first floor gallery five to six times a year and carries out various other events, including lectures and workshops on the history and culture of Edo-Tokyo.
We hope that the museum can be Tokyo’s center for the creation of new culture and a place of respite for visitors.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Edo-Tokyo Museum aspires to be a cultural facility that offers high quality programs modeled on “iki,” an aesthetic ideal distinct to Edo, and, at the same time, “nigiwai (bustling)” with many visitors to this museum specializing in the history of the city. To this end, we will readapt this concept of “iki and nigiwai” to meet contemporary contexts on which the Museum’s basic administrative policy shall rest.
We will pass on to future generations the history and culture of Edo-Tokyo through the core activities of the Museum, namely, the collection of related materials, the holding of exhibitions, and the preservation of a collection of about 590,000 items. We will ensure that the Tokyo population at large will benefit from the outcomes of our studies and research, and we will hold diverse outreach programs. Furthermore, we will encourage people-to-people exchanges among people visiting from other parts of Japan and overseas, identifying the Edo-Tokyo Museum as a center of tourism and regional promotion.
The Edo-Tokyo Museum’s logo was modeled after the left eye of the famous ukiyo-e print of a kabuki actor, entitled, “Ichikawa Ebizo no Takemura Sadanoshin (Ichikawa Ebizo as Takemura Sadanoshin),” which was painted by the so-called mysterious ukiyo-e painter of the Edo period, Toshusai Sharaku. The intense cross-eye expression of the mie pose is intended to represent the fascination and curiosity of the visitors to the museum. This logo – this gaze from the distant Edo period – seems to be watching over Tokyo, both in the present day and into the future (Designer: Koichi Sato).
This official mascot was selected through a contest in March 2003 on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Edo-Tokyo Museum, with a view to making the museum more accessible to the people in Tokyo. The mascot was modeled after the newel post of the railing of the Nihonbashi Bridge attached with an ornament known as “giboshi” (in the shape of the bulbous flower of the onion). The bridge is displayed in the permanent exhibition.