Styles of Play: The History of Merrymaking in Art

Suntory Museum of Art

poster for Styles of Play: The History of Merrymaking in Art

Ends in 27 days

“We are all born to play.” This famous line is from the Ryojin Hisho, a late twelfth-century collection of popular songs. In that spirit, this exhibition focuses on play, amusements, merrymaking as a theme in art. Games like sugoroku, a board game related to backgammon, or karuta, playing card games, dance, even fashion: men and women always become enthusiastically absorbed in enjoying all sorts of amusements. But their content changes over time. In this exhibition, famous seventeenth-century paintings and prints on the subject of recreation guide us to a deeper understanding of play in human life. Our forebearers made merry, sometimes artlessly, sometimes languorously. Let us imagine what merrymaking meant for them and what their secrets were for enjoying life in the floating world.



from June 26, 2019 to August 18, 2019


Adults ¥1300, University & High School Students ¥1000

Venue Hours

From 10:00 To 18:00
fridays closing at 20:00, saturdays closing at 20:00
Closed on Tuesdays
Note:On a Public Holiday Tuesday, the Museum is open, but closed on the following Wednesday.


Address: Tokyo Mid-town Garden Side, 9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8643
Phone: 03-3479-8600 Fax: 03-3479-8643

3 minutes walk from Nogizaka Station on the Chiyoda Line, 5 minutes walk from Roppongi Station on the Oedo and Hibiya Lines.

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