Emperor, Empress view Ryukyu art treasures at Tokyo event

Pool photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Emperor and Empress look at the “Bridge of Nations” bell at the Tokyo National Museum in Taito Ward, Tokyo, on Wednesday.

The Emperor and Empress on Wednesday attended the “Ryukyu: Special Exhibition Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Okinawa’s Reversion to Japan” at the Tokyo National Museum in Taito Ward, Tokyo.

It was the first time in two years and three months that the Emperor and Empress visited an exhibition site and the first time since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

The special exhibition displays 180 items, mainly the treasures of the Ryukyu Kingdom, which ruled Okinawa for centuries, and introduces the culture and history of Ryukyu and Okinawa.

The exhibition is being held as part of the Tsumugu Project: Promoting, Restoring and Preserving the Beauty of Japan’s Art, an initiative jointly organized by the Cultural Affairs Agency, the Imperial Household Agency and The Yomiuri Shimbun.

The Emperor and Empress examined the “Bridge of Nations” bell, which is believed to have announced the hours at Shuri Castle during the Ryukyu Kingdom period, as well as a folding screen depicting flowers and birds.

After the visit to the exhibition, the Emperor told a guide, “I understand very well now how Okinawa has interacted with various regions and built a unique culture.”

According to the Imperial Household Agency, the visit was proposed by the Emperor and Empress who have always taken an interest in Okinawa.