The museum collection includes Foujita’s works of the 1930s, Western paintings, works of early Japanese
Western-style painting, Japanese Western-style paintings of the late 19th century, and Chinese paintings.

Major Works by Tsuguharu Foujita in the Collection

Title Year Material
Sleeping Woman 1931 Oil on canvas 74.4×125.0
Two Women in a Room 1932 Oil on canvas 95.0×77.0
Street Performers 1932 Oil on canvas 98.5×78.5
After the Carnival 1932 Oil on canvas 98.5×79.0
Three Street Musicians 1934 Watercolor on paper 165.0×93.0
Sumo 1934 Watercolor on paper 169.0×82.0
Sumo Wrestlers in Peiping 1935 Oil on canvas 180.9×225.4
Five Women 1935 Oil on canvas 192.5×128.5
Self-Portrait 1936 Oil on canvas 127.7×191.9
My Studio in Tokyo 1936 Oil on canvas 30.0×39.4
Events of Akita 1937 Oil on canvas 365×2050
Year 1900 1937 Oil on canvas 144.0×110.5
Visitor (Itoman) 1938 Oil on canvas 114.5×89.5
My Studio in Tokyo 1938 Oil on canvas 36.3×44.2
Dancers 1939 Oil on canvas 79.0×64.0
Kitchen 1940 Oil on canvas 36.3×44.0

Events of Akita

Events of Akita

Tsuguharu Foujita

  Oil on canvas  
  Masakichi Hirano Art Foundation  

After returning to Japan in November 1933, Tsuguharu Foujita began mural production in 1934. Starting with decorating the walls of Café du Brésil in Ginza, he created one mural after another in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. While traveling in Latin America, he was exposed to the Mexican Muralist Movement and became enthusiastic about making murals as he had attempted to paint large pictures in Paris. In July 1936 Masakichi Hirano, head of a wealthy family in Akita, presented his plan to build an art museum to exhibit a number of Foujita’s works he had collected. Prompted by Hirano’s plan, Foujita announced his idea to paint a mural in Akita saying, “I will initiate a mural era in Akita, the land of poetry,” and “delving into Akita’s historical meaning and incorporating all of its customs and manners in one mural, I want to give life to them in the present time.” The artist envisioned a wall painting across which he would express his whole image of Akita, one rural region of Japan. After announcing his decision to paint a mural, Foujita frequented to Akita once a month for about six months before actually starting work on the mural. He went to festivals and traveled to historical sites. Deepening his relationship with Hirano, the artist then stayed in Akita City. Foujita’s perspective centered on Tomachi, where the Hirano family had made a fortune. In the Edo period (1603-1868), Tomachi was a merchant district for the Kubota Castle. As it is now, the district was the center of the city. The mural contrasts festivity and daily life and the bridge is a border between the two contrasting ideas. On the right side of the bridge are the festivals and annual events related to Tomachi: the Sanno Festival of the Hie Hachiman Shrine, the district’s guardian shrine; the Bonden Festival of the Taiheizan Miyoshi Shrine; and the yearly Kanto Festival held in Tomachi. Each of these events reaches its climax. Far behind the Bonden scene lies Mt. Taiheizan, the holy mountain for the Miyoshi Shrine. On the left side of the bridge are people living in the Tomachi winter. The everyday landscape of Akita is box sleighs on the snow, a rainwater jar on a store roof, and children playing in a snow hut or with a kite (berabodako). The oil wells, bags of rice on a horse-drawn sleigh, lumber, and sake barrels symbolize Akita’s industries. The bridge that separates the world of the festivities and daily life is modeled after the Korogibashi Bridge at Takashimizu Hill. The bridge suggests the hill where Akita Castle, a fortress of the 8th century, was built. Time of the past flows beyond the bridge, and the time and space of Akita cross over it. Foujita completed the mural with the theme of The Whole Aspect of Akita in March 1937. The belief is that he took approximately 15 days to finish the painting at Hirano’s rice warehouse in Shimokomemachi, Akita City. In the summer that followed, Japan underwent a drastic change to a war footing. The following year Foujita’s work shifted to militaristic paintings.