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View of the Courtyard Garden | Photo: Osamu Watanabe

A Word from the Chairman

When I opened the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in 1979, it was one of the first museums in Japan that specialized in contemporary art. Since then, under the auspices of the Foundation Arc-en-Ciel, we have continued to promote international exchange through contemporary art and provide opportunities for the cultivation of artists. Situated within a quiet residential area of Shinagawa, Tokyo, the Western-style building was originally built as the private residence of my grandfather, the Meiji-era industrialist Kunizo Hara. Its history makes it a unique venue for the enjoyment of contemporary art. In addition to three or four exhibitions each year, we hold a variety of events such as lectures and performances, as well as workshops and other educational activities. In 1988, we opened an annex, Hara Museum ARC, in Gunma prefecture not far from Ikaho hot springs. At these two venues, we seek to present the most varied program possible in the area of contemporary art and culture.

Toshio Hara, Chairman,
Foundation Arc-en-Ciel

Profile of Toshio Hara

Born in Tokyo in 1935, Toshio Hara studied at Gakushuin University majoring in political economics and later at Princeton University. In 1977, he established the Foundation Arc-en-Ciel for which he continues to serve as chairman. Over the years, he has served in various capacities, such as vice-president of the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art, New York and emeritus trustee of the Honolulu Museum of Art. His many awards include the French Medal of the Legion of Honor which was bestowed upon him in 2017.

About the Building

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Main entrance

The design of the building is the work of Jin Watanabe, known also for his design of the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park and Ginza Wako (formerly the K. Hattori watch store). As in the case of the Teian Museum of Art, the Hara Museum is a 1930’s Western-style residence that has been turned into a museum. It is also a rare example of a Western-style Japanese residence built during the early-Showa period in the Modernist style with many unique aspects, such as the use of smoothly curving lines to delineate the museum’s courtyard garden. In addition to galleries that were once living room, dining room or bedroom, the museum’s boasts permanent installations where once were bathroom, sink and other utility spaces. Over the years, additional structures have been added, such as the glass-enclosed Cafe d’Art and The Hall, a multi-purpose venue for lectures, workshops and other events.

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View of the main entrance at the time of completion in 1938
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Courtyard garden at the time of completion in 1938