Tokyo Highlights – Advertising Musem and LED Art Gallery

Was recently in Japan for a short trip; the food is great, the scenery is stunning and the people are charming and warm. But what really touched my geeky heart and my love for advertising was…

1. ADMT – Advertising Museum Tokyo is the first advertising and marketing museum in Japan. The museum houses an exhibition space and a library on advertising and marketing. The permanent exhibition features the history of advertising. Guided by the concept that “Advertising is the mirror of society” the exhibition chronicles advertising in Japan from the Edo Period (1603-1868) till today on the 21st century wall and explores new developments in advertising.


Museum of Advertising and Marketing Tokyo


I was struck by the advertisements from the eras: The influx of foreign brands during the Meiji, the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the eco-drive themes of the 21st century. The advertisements from events and periods were clear markers of history and the changing mindset of the society. This was really fun even for the non-advertisement geeks.


2. SCAI The Bathhouse Inspired by 10 of the best contemporary art galleries in Tokyocomplied by Ashley Rawlings for the Guardian UK, I set off for the Mori Art Museum but it was closed for the Aida Mako’s Monument for Nothing. So I set off to the SCAI The Bathhouse instead. Getting to the SCAI The Bathhouse from the Ueno station was half the adventure in itself as it was tucked away in an old neighbourhood of traditional wooden houses and temples. The transformation and restoration of the SCAI The Bathhouse is also another piece of art on its own too.


SCAI The Bathhouse Tokyo from the Guardian (Warp Time installation by Tatsuo Miyajima)


After viewing Teddy Lo’s MEGAPOV during the Marina Bay’s iLight 2012 in Singapore earlier this year, I have been intrigued by LED lighting art. The concept MEGAPOV is a light installation using a new digital light format to produce a news flash effect showing symbols. The symbols are seen as “flashes” from rapid eye movement which I have yet to figure out HOW (?!)


Anyway, Tatsuo Miyajima “LIFE I-model” was the featured solo exhibition during my visit at SCAI The Bathhouse. Using digital counters based on light-emitting diodes (LEDs) which operates in an unpredictable and a random rhythm, Miyajima’s illustrates this thinking which based on three concepts—”Keep Changing,” “Connect with All,” and “Goes on Forever.” So the digital counters were flickering counting up and down in a random fashion to symbolize human’s adaptability and the paradox of time.


SCAI The Bathhouse Tokyo LIFE I-model 2012 Nov 2


If I lost you there in the above paragraph, please do not be put-off. I was feeling the same when I walked out of the gallery and the feeling was even more accentuated  because there was only 2 or 3 pieces of exhibits. But a good art piece sets you thinking for a long time. And this was one of those art.


SCAI The Bathhouse Tokyo LIFE I-model 2012 Nov 1


Will put together other photos of Tokyo in the next post. No yummy sushi photos though.



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