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Collection Exhibition

What does it mean when they say Japanese-Style Painting?

Period July 6 (Sat.) ー September 23 (Mon.Holiday), 2024

北野恒富《鏡の前》1915年 滋賀県立美術館蔵


The term “Nihonga” is used casually by people living in Japan daily. However, its definition is actually extremely difficult to define.
It was an American who originally coined the term nihonga: Ernest Fenollosa (1853-1908), a historian of Asian art who came to Japan as a foreign expert hired by the Japanese government. Fenollosa devised nihonga to contrast with seiyōga, “Western painting (oil painting),” which had spread in earnest in Japan from the Meiji period (1868-1912) on. He noted the materials and techniques that Japanese paintings had carried on and, conceiving it as a distinctive style of painting, defined it as nihonga (literally “Japanese painting”). Taking Fenollosa’s thinking on board, his good friend Okakura Tenshin (1863-1913), founder of the Nihon Bijutsuin (Japan Art Institute), sought to establish nihonga as an art to rival Western painting. The modern nihonga that painters who gathered around Tenshin created laid the foundation for nihonga as we conceive of it today.
Since that foundation was established, the influence of Western painting, innovations in painting materials after World War II, and the increasing diversity of art genres have made the concept of nihonga and its framework increasingly vague and changing up to today. Its definition has become difficult.
Nonetheless (or perhaps for that reason), viewing and appreciating nihonga is delightful. This exhibition focuses on materials, formats, and expression forms in introducing the characteristics of that genre and its diverse attractions.


July 6 (Sat.) ー September 23 (Mon.Holiday), 2024


Mondays(The next day if Monday is a national holiday)

Opening Hours

9:30-17:00 (Last admission at 16:30)


Shiga Museum of Art,Gallery1


Adults ‒ 540 (430)JPY
University & High School Students: 320JPY (260JPY)
Under High School Students: Free
*In August 2024,university students and younger can visit the museum for free
*Holders of a ID of physical disability, mental disability, or intellectual disability: Free
*Addmission Fees in ( ) are group rates for groups of 20 or more.
*Collection exhibition tickets allow access to Gallery 1, Ogura Yuki Corner, and Gallery 2.
◎Every Sunday is “Wooden House Specialty Store Taniguchi Komuten Free Sunday,” when the Collection exhibition is open to everyone free of charge.

Organized by

Shiga Museum of Art

Curated by

Takeo Hirata(Shiga Museum of Art)
Aya Koikawa (Shiga Museum of Art)