The 1910 Japan-British Exhibition – what’s left?

Season ticket to the Japan-British Exhibition 1910

© Museum of London

You thought the London Olympics were big, right? Eight and a half million tickets sold. Spectacular. But in 1910 another event did just as well, and it wasn’t a sporting event but a cultural initiative. It was the Japan-British Exhibition at White City, visited by 8,350,000 people, with 460,000 people passing through its gates in a single day (Japanese Gala Day). Okay, I admit it did go on longer than the Olympic Games – nearly six months, from 14 May 1910 to 29 October 1910.  But what was it for and what did it leave behind?  Continue reading

Van Gogh and Japan

Van Gogh Twelve SunflowersVincent Van Gogh loved Japan – and Japan loves Van Gogh. A new book, The Sunflowers are Mine by Martin Bailey, published this week, has some intriguing insights into both sides of the love affair, from Van Gogh’s admiration for Japanese prints to the sad fate of one of his sunflower pictures, bought by a Japanese collector. Continue reading

Origami and Mathematics

Kawasaki origamiIf your image of someone who does origami is a little Japanese girl making paper cranes, you’re way out of date. Alright, I confess, I was too, until I went to a talk and demonstration at the Japan Foundation by the world’s first Doctor of Origami, Toshikazu Kawasaki, and discovered that nowadays origami is a branch of geometry. Continue reading