About Asai collection

Summary of Asai Collection

Asai collection is one of the leading individuals in Japan with a history of more than 120 years since its launch in 1897 (Meiji 30th).
The enormous number of Ukiyoe are covering every era of Japanese history, especially about the Ukiyoe and Nishikie during the last days of Edo era and Meiji era, which Japan was the most vigorous and particularly developing days, Asai Collection is one of the largest in the world.
One of Japan's leading collections of Ukiyoe had also been used, highlighting the end of Tokugawa shogunate and Meiji era, for publishing the series of whole Japanese history, by prominent historians, Emeritus Professor Siro Konishi of the University of Tokyo and Emeritus Professor Masaru Tokinoya of Osaka University.
Also, so far, many exhibitions have been held with Ukiyo-e collection of Asai collections in museums and art museums throughout Japan, including the Ryozen Historical Museum in Kyoto, and exhibitions are still held at various museums in Japan. It is continuing.

History of Asai Collection

The pioneer of the Asai Collection goes back to the history that Yusuke Asai, who had been operating a bookstore in Osaka, started collecting Ukiyoe from 1897.
Yusuke Asai was born in Takefu, Fukui Prefecture in 1888.
When he was 13 years old, he went to Osaka to work at a bookstore, then at the age of 19, he left independence, and opened “Asai Taizando”, and beside bookstore management, tried collecting and preserving Ukiyoe products and studying them.
Among Ukiyoe prints, we call multicolored prints, Nishikie.
Meiji era was one of the period when Japan was the most hopeful and passionate days in Japanese history.
It was an era when it was full of vigor, after finishing the isolation deployment of the Edo period, and to catch up with Western powers, trying to promote “rich country and strong army”, proceeding economic promotions, and the country as a whole, to remarkable development with a high degree of spirit.
In this period, Ukiyoe and Nishikie had the role of information transmission tool like SNS now, and reflecting the atmosphere rapidly evolving and changing times, they have many wonderful contents with so vibrant and rich in variety.
Yusuke Asai gathered vigorously to feel charm particularly for this period’s Ukiyoe in the Meiji era from the end of the lively Bakumatsu, full of such hope, to remain in posterity as a historical heritage.
Masaru Tokinoya Emeritus Professor of Osaka University, who published "volumes of Japan history, Nishikie", which used only the Asai Collection’s Nishikie in 1981, wrote as follows in its’ commentary.
"Especially in public and institutions, there are many other superior collections both in quality and quantity even from artistic perspectives, but from the end of the Edo period to the Meiji era, there seems to be no other examples what is collectively compiled as much as the Asai Collection. "