Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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Consul General's News Letter From Houston

Unrivalled Splendor: The Kimiko and John Powers Collection of Japanese Art
June 8, 2012 at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: Remarks by Consul-General Jota Yamamoto

June 8, 2012

We have many Consul-Generals in the States.  I am perhaps one of the most fortunate Consul-Generals as posted in Houston, for I love the Astros, I love this Museum so much.  I like Japan to be liked more than ever by this Museum and you all.

With so many familiar faces here and elsewhere in this Museum, I wish I could exhaust the very long list of people I should thank tonight.  As I am not allowed to hijack the podium for 30-40 minutes, I will name just a few.  Mr. Gary Tinterow, Director of the Museum, and Chairperson Madam Cornelia Long and other members of the Board of Trustees, please accept my tribute.

In February, I spoke about Perfect Elegance and now we have new treasures to add in the Arts of Japan Gallery.  Today we are here to celebrate the opening of The Kimiko and John Powers Collection of Japanese Art, fabulously entitled “Unrivalled Splendor.” Shohaku, Rosetsu, Taiga...just to start.   Hoitsu, Sotatsu, Koetsu, Buncho, Tan’ have more. Buson, Jakuchu, Saikaku, Kokan and many more.  All are big names and it is truly a privilege to see their works at once.  Let us applaud Madam Kimiko Powers who is sharing with us her dignified collection.  Let us also applaud Ms. Gwen Goffe, Ms. Valerie Greiner, Ms. Christine Starkman and all the Museum staff who brought it to the best chosen place for the best chosen people to enjoy it.

It is displayed upstairs, in the same gallery that was honoured by the Tutankhamen exhibit.  The nuances of the Powers Collection may be different, but the values are equally splendid, or of “unrivalled splendor.”  Making this exhibit even more attractive, it is free of any additional charge thanks to General Electric and other generous sponsors.  I am happy to tell you that the Japan Foundation too, after strongly supporting the Japan Gallery, has again joined in sponsorship.  The Japan Foundation has unwavering confidence in the MFA Houston.

A preview lecture is another nice repeat practice.  We welcome tonight Professor Miyeko Murase, Professor Emerita of Columbia University and 2012 recipient of the Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Emperor of Japan.  As is easily testified by Mr. Tinterow perhaps, Professor Murase is a well known figure at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as its Special Consultant.

Dear Members,

Art is appreciated for its beauty.  In the States, art shall be understood as well.  It shall be understood as a catalyst to promote mutual respect and to ensure the peaceful coexistence, which makes it possible for America to be America.  The best works of art, particularly those from foreign cultures, require the best orientation to be most adequately understood.   

Quite shortly, perhaps in ten days and at the City Hall, we will confirm the gifting of cherry blossom trees to the City of Houston to be made this autumn.  Japan likes to share the beauty of cherry blossoms with many people, many countries.  If you are given a footnote and understand that this gifting commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the first gift of cherry blossom trees from Japan as the symbol of friendship with the States, the beauty of cherry blossoms will surely start to speak to you more and communicate my people’s respect for the people of America and vice versa. 

The beauty of the Powers Collection is overwhelming, which could be a bit  dangerous.  Mind you.  Take some deep breaths and prepare yourselves for the beauty that awaits you.  At the same time, this beauty can be understood, or I would like you all to understand, that this beauty demonstrates and implies something precious, something very Japanese.  

Accordingly, we are so lucky today to have Professor Murase, who will guide us to the apparent wonderland with convincing interpretations.  The best art requires the best orientation.  I hope you all will enjoy it and have a very good evening.