NIHONMONODiscovering Japan [Nihon] through authentic craftsmanship [Honmono]

Hidetoshi Nakata travels around Fukushima <#11> Arriving in Fukushima – “Art”

Hidetoshi Nakata travels around Fukushima <#11>
Arriving in Fukushima – “Art”

Interested in traditional cultures from around the nation, Nakata has been involved in communicating their appeal, and his visits to the museums has become one of the key themes of his travels. One museum that piqued his interest with their outstanding collection was Morohashi Museum of Modern Art. We visited Kitashiobara-mura in search of the largest collection of Salvador Dali’s work in Asia.

Experiencing the extraordinary at the museum in the mountains

A western style structure from the Medieval Ages appears from nowhere along a stream deep in the forest – the museum is located in a scenic corner of a national park with several hundred lakes and marshes, offering a majestic view of Mount Bandai. Taking in the beautiful view, Nakata commented,
“When I first visited, I was very surprised to find such a wonderful museum nestled in the mountains of Fukushima.”

Nakata enjoys visiting exhibitions of art, craft and architecture in his everyday life. While he always had an interest in architecture, fashion and design, it wasn’t until after he retired from soccer that he began going to museums. He reflects that his travels around Japan created the opportunity.
He learned of the many smaller, lesser known museums around the nation as he traveled, and he made it part of his crusade to visit local museums. Morohashi Museum of Modern Art particularly left a strong impression.
“There can’t be many museums around the world with such a large collection of Dali’s work.”
346 of the 410 total pieces at Morohashi Museum of Modern Art are by Salvador Dali, the Spanish master of surrealism. The collection ranks just behind the Dali Theater Museum in Figueres, Spain and The Dali Museum in Florida, U.S.A.

Enjoying with a free spirit, not bound by norms

The first director of the museum, Teizo Morohashi is the founder of Xebio, a national sporting goods chain. He was fascinated by the worldview of Salvador Dali’s pieces, and spent 10 years collecting his art. One of the curators of the museum, 大野方子 Ohno explained that the museum was built so Morohashi could share his passion for Dali’s art while also contributing to the culture of Fukushima.
“Our director also wanted to make sure visitors could enjoy each piece up close. There are some sculptures that you can walk around and view from every angle.”
Nakata smiled every so often as he walked around the museum. He divulges that one of the reasons he likes to visit museums is because it allows him to come in touch with new perspectives and thoughts.
“For me, there really is no difference between art, kogei, design and architecture. It’s also not important who made the piece. What matters is whether I can find beauty in the art. I can get a true sense of the artwork if I rely on my instincts rather than other people’s explanations.”

Ohno agrees that art should be enjoyed in freeform.
“Of course, you can choose to view the pieces based on information, but it restricts how you relate to the art if there’s too much information. We try to arrange the exhibits so that the visitors make use of their sensitivities.”
Visitors are increasing following the decrease after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and this year, they are set to double their numbers from the previous year.
“We will begin a new exhibition in April to commemorate our 20th anniversary. We hope you have a chance to see it.”


Morohashi Museum of Modern Art
Kengamine, Oaza-Hibara, Kitashiobara-mura, Yama-gun, Fukushima Prefecture 969-2701, Japan