Ota Memorial Museum of Art
The Ota Memorial Museum of Art holds around 14,000 ‘ukiyo-e’ artworks, once the private collection of Seizo Ota V – a former president of Toho Insurance Company. While the name may not be instantly known to many international visitors, many fine examples of ‘ukiyo-e’ paintings and woodblock prints will be instantly recognisable.
At its height through the Edo Period (1603-1868), ukiyo-e translates as ‘images of the floating world’ which captured the hedonistic lives of the aristocracy through to scenes of daily life, to the natural world and supernatural realms. During his lifetime, Seizo dedicated himself to regaining many of the ukiyo-e artworks that were taken out of Japan during the Meiji Period and in doing so, accrued one of Japan’s great collections. Upon his death in 1977, his collection was made accessible to the public with the museum opening in 1980. Around half the prints are on view at any one time with English information varying in quality and descriptiveness between artworks.