Cultural agency wants Japan to host international art fair in 2025

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The National Art Center, Tokyo in Minato Ward

The Agency for Cultural Affairs wants to invite organizers of an international art fair to hold an event in Tokyo, hopefully in 2025, to bolster Japan’s art market and help Japanese artists raise their profiles overseas.

None of Japan’s six national art museums has hosted such a fair, at which established dealers tout artworks to well-heeled buyers from all over the world.

The agency has selected as a potential venue the National Art Center, Tokyo (NACT) in the capital’s Minato Ward, one of the largest art facilities in Japan.

NACT, which does not have a permanent collection, hosts public and touring exhibitions in a 14,000-square-meter space.

Prestigious fairs such as Switzerland’s Art Basel, one of the world’s largest, have become key avenues for artists to enhance their international profiles.

Works by Japanese artists such as Yayoi Kusama and Takashi Murakami have been exhibited at such events.

The global art market reportedly is estimated to be worth about ¥7 trillion, while the Japanese market was worth ¥258 billion in 2019, according to the agency, which believes there is room for growth.

Art Fair Tokyo has been held in the capital since 2005, but most of the exhibitors at that event are Japanese dealers.

There are concerns that Japan is being left behind as Europe-based art fairs have been making inroads in Asia, with events held in such cities as Hong Kong and Seoul.

The agency hopes that an international art fair will attract not only outstanding artworks but also big-spending foreign visitors.

“When Expo 2025 takes place in Osaka, global attention will be focused on Japan,” an agency official said. “We want to increase Japan’s profile by attracting a major art fair in the same year.”