Mitsuo Aida Museum 相田 みつを
"Shiawase wa itsumo jibun no kokoro ga kimeru." Happiness always comes from your own heart.
Mitsuo Aida (1924-1991) is considered one of the greatest Japanese calligraphers of the twentieth century.
The museum likes to emphasize its archaic design in the heart of a contemporary building.
The art of calligraphy
The Mitsuo Aida Museum is tucked away inside the Tokyo International Forum, a multi-purpose exhibition center in Marunouchi, dedicated to the works of this master of Japanese calligraphy.
Poet and calligrapher Mitsuo Aida lived from 1924 to 1991. His work is contemporary, but in the tradition of the great calligraphers and Zen Buddhism. For Aida, his work was a spiritual and artistic journey between the modern and more traditional.
His main works Ningen damono ("Because I'm Human"), Ogakesan ("Our Debt to Others") or Inochi ippai ("Live a Full Life") are calls to a philosophical life.
The museum dedicated to him was founded in 1996, and its architecture was inspired by the kofun tombs of the Asuka period. The works are arranged in panels. Foreign visitors need not worry, English translations are available next to each work.
Visitors can take some of the experience home with them, by way of the extremely well-stocked gift shop. You can also enjoy a coffee break there.
The museum is also interactive, with spaces where visitors can try their hand at calligraphy - on water - ephemeral works that surely the old master would have approved of.
The museum is not very big, one hour is enough time enough to visit, but it is comprehensive and well informed about the philosophical approach of the calligrapher. His works are poems, but the beauty of his handwriting is also fascinating: it twists, stretches, transforms, and is superbly expressive.