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News Releases 2006

80th Anniversary of Kuraray's Founding
First public showing of the works of Shiko Munakata from the Kuraray collection and the Ohara Museum of Art in Tokyo and Kobe

June 21, 2006
Kuraray Co., Ltd.

To celebrate the 80th anniversary of its founding, Kuraray Co., Ltd. will sponsor a first time exhibition of the works of Shiko Munakata, with exhibits lent from its private collection and from the Ohara Museum of Art. The exhibition will open in Kobe (September) and Tokyo (October). In all, fifty pieces will be on display, including paintings on fusuma (sliding paper doors between rooms in Japanese houses) from the collection started by Magosaburo Ohara, the founder of Kuraray. Many of them are being exhibited for the first time, making this an opportunity that fans of Munakata's work will not want to miss.

The eight pieces being lent by Kuraray are all works by Munakata that have never before been on general exhibition. Kuraray's second president, Soichiro Ohara, who defined the Company's destiny with KURALON (vinylon) as Japan's first purely domestic synthetic fiber and textiles business, commissioned Vinylon Woodblock from Munakata, and it is said that these great works gave Soichiro the courage to weather a difficult period. In addition to the Ohara Museum's collection, which is quite widely known, this exhibition will also feature other Vinylon Woodblock sets from the Company's private collection. These two collections are first shown on the same exhibition.

The Ohara Museum of Art (Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture) was founded by Kuraray's first president Magosaburo Ohara in 1930, and was Japan's first museum of western art. Although Magosaburo and his son Soichiro collected mainly western art, they were also known for their knowledge of the Japanese folk art movement. Munakata's association with the Ohara family began in 1937 when Magosaburo asked Munakata to paint the fusuma in his residence. Magosaburo's son Soichiro and Munakata developed a deep friendship and became almost like brothers, and one after another Munakata's paintings came to adorn the Ohara household. The works were shown to the public in 1963 when the Munakata Shiko Hall of Wood Block Prints was established, which is now the Munakata Shiko Room in the Ohara Museum of Art. Of the approximately 300 works in the collection, approximately 60 are exhibited at one time.

Vinylon Woodblock (1951)

1. Title of exhibition
Shiko Munakata's works from the Ohara Museum of Art and the Kuraray private collection.
2. Venues
(1) Daimaru Museum Kobe (The Daimaru Kobe Department Store, 9th Floor)
Period September 13 (Wed) – 25 (Mon) 2006
Opening times 10.00 am – 7.30* pm (closing at 8.00 pm)
*until 4.30 pm on the last day (closing at 5.00 pm).
(2) Daimaru Museum Tokyo (The Daimaru Tokyo Department Store, 12th Floor)
Period October 5 (Thurs) – 17 (Tues) 2006
Opening times 10.00 am – 7.30* pm (closing at 8.00 pm)
*until 5.00 pm on the last day (closing at 5.30 pm).
3. Admission fees
(including tax)
  On the day Advanced purchase and groups
(of more than 10)
General admission ¥800 ¥600
Students* ¥600 ¥400

*Free admission middle-school students or younger

4. Sponsors
Ohara Museum of Art, Kuraray Co. Ltd.,The Mainichi Newspapers Co. Ltd.

In addition to sponsoring Shiko Munakata's works, Kuraray is also supporting the following two viewings

"Impact : Modern East and West – another view of the Ohara Museum of Art"
at the Ohara Museum of Art from July 11 to November 5, sponsored by the Ohara Museum of Art among others.
"Modern Paradise Exhibition :Ohara Museum of Art and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; a feast of East and West"
at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo from August 15 to October 15, sponsored by the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and the Ohara Museum of Art, among others.