March 17 - April 15, 2018

NCBF Cherry Blossoms NCBF Cherry Blossoms

March 15, 2017 - May 15, 2017



Mon-Fri 9 AM -5 PM
Special events during the exhibition


Japan Information & Culture Center
1150 18th St NW, Suite 100
Washington, DC 20036 (Map)





The Japan Information & Culture Center, Embassy of Japan invites you to come and see a unique exhibition of finely crafted miniature sculptures known as netsuke [pronounced netz-kay], brimming with stories of life during Edo period Japan (17c-19c). Netsuke originated as functional accessories, but grew in popularity as eccentric fashion statements. Rarely displayed in public in these numbers, these pieces display not only rich history, but also meticulous craftsmanship.

Originally created as toggles to attach wallets, tobacco pouches, and other small boxes to the obi belt on Japanese kimono, netsuke became symbols of wealth, character, and personal values. Artful sculptures of everything from comical creatures to honored elements of nature, frightening mythological figures, and scenes from everyday life, each netsuke piece has a unique story to share about Japan.

Don’t miss these special events during the exhibition:

  • “Netsuke – Japan’s Tiny Goodwill Ambassadors”
    March 15, 6:30-8:00pm at the Japan Information & Cultural Center
    Opening night lecture by the distinguished Komada family of netsuke artists.
  • “Art in the Palm of Your Hand: Netsuke in Japanese”
    March 16, 6:30-8:00pm at the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries
    Netsuke artist’s lecture and demonstration
  • “Katsura Sunshine Netsuke Rakugo”
    April 10, 6:30-8:00pm at the Japan Information & Cultural Center
    Combining the netsuke exhibition with Japanese traditional storytelling as performing art.
  • Grand Finale
    May 15, 6:30-8:00pm at the Japan Information & Cultural Center
    Closing event of the netsuke exhibit.

 Please visit the Japan Information & Culture Center (JICC) website for the latest schedule information.
Co-presented by the Japan Information & Culture Center (JICC), the Embassy of Japan, and the Japan-American Society of Washington DC.
Works loaned courtesy of Evergreen Museum & Library, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland and the Beverly and Jay Hopkins Collection.

Netsuke photos
Ⓒ Andrew Wilds

Carver’s photo
Ⓒ Jun’ichi Endo