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Modern Culture

Kyoto National Museum

■Painting. literature, music, and theater

 Many of the basic art forms in Japan and other traditional cultural elements were born in Kansai, ranging from the tea ceremony, which has been introduced overseas, flower arrangement, Noh, and Kyogen, to religion, such as Zen and traditional handicrafts. Taking full advantage of the vast storehouse of historical tradition and culture, Kansai prospered and produced a creative modern culture. Kansai is also the source of modern culture in Japan.
 Many painters famous in the Japanese-style of painting emerged from Kansai, espaecially from Kyoto, such as Takeuchi Seiho, Ono Chikukyo, and Uemura Shoen, forming a unique art world in the field of modern Japanese-style painting. In 1954, Yoshihara Jiro, from Hyogo Prefecture founded the Gutai Art Association, which was, amidst the creative Kansai culture based on tradition, an experimental art movement that produced a series of unique works of art and drew a lot of attention overseas.

The Symphony Hall

 In regard to authors, Kawabata Yasunari, from Osaka, was the first Japanese Nobel Laureate, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968. A number of famous poets and authors have also come from Kansai, such as the poet and philosopher Yosano Akiko, known for her anthology of poems called "Midaregami" and the poem "Kimi Shini Tamafu Koto Nakare" that appeared during the Russo-Japanese War (of 1904-05), Oda Sakunosuke, known for the novel "Meoto Zenzai," and the author Shiba Ryotaro, known as the grandfather of Japanese popular literature. There are also a number of people from Kansai in a variety of fields that have appeared on the stage worldwide, famous architects, designers, and musicians, as well as people famous in the fashion and movie industries.
 Including orchestras founded by the local autonomous bodies, such as the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, and the Century Orchestra Osaka, there are several symphony orchestras with active performance schedules in Kansai, such as the Orchestra Osaka Symphoniker and the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra.
 In addition, theater is also very popular in Kansai, the SHIKI THEATRE COMPANY (literally, the Four Seasons Theatre Company) based in Tokyo also has a theater located in Nishi Umeda in Osaka, where they perform western musicals and plays. In Hyogo Prefecture, there is the Takarazuka Grand Theater and Bow Hall, which is a rare example worldwide of a theater featuring only female players.

■Comics and digital contents

 At present, manga (Japanese comics) and animation are recognized as a part of modern culture, but the role played by Tezuka Osamu, born in Osaka and raised in Takarazuka City, was very important in the recognition. His works changed the very conception of manga in Japan, as he employed a variety of new expression methods to establish the flow of the comic story on the page, and his influence was felt in a variety of genre, including literature and movies. In Kansai, the promotion of next-generation digital contents business is very active, and both government and private organizations are active in scouting efforts and the fostering of talent in a variety of superior contents projects. Furthermore, the first university in Japan with a manga department, Kyoto Seika University, established the Kyoto International Manga Museum in 2006 in collaboration with Kyoto City. Great expectations are held for this unprecedented base for manga culture.

Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum

■Cultural Facilities

 There are many facilities in Kansai providing support for cultural activities.
 In addition to the national facilities, such as the Kyoto National Museum, the Nara National Museum, the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, the National Museum of Art, Osaka, and the National Museum of Ethnology (Osaka), the various autonomous bodies in the various districts Kansai are engaged in the construction and promotion of facilities that take advantage of the special characteristics of the localities. A municipal facility, the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka has a treasure house of about 2,000 examples of china and porcelain from China and Korea, with many items specified as national treasures or important cultural properties, providing the opportunity to come into contact with the ancient chinaware culture of East Asia, such as celadon (pale sea-green) and white porcelain. There are also many other unique cultural facilities in Kansai, such as the Museum of Kyoto, located in Kyoto, the Kobe City Museum in Hyogo Prefecture, the Lake Biwa Museum in Shiga Prefecture, specializing in the nature and culture of Lake Biwa, and the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, which has dinosaur fossil remains on display, etc. In Hyogo Prefecture there is the Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Hyogo, which has dinosaur fossil remains excavated in the Tanba district on display, and all of these facilities function to expand the circle of understanding regarding the symbiotic relationship between humanity and nature.

Hakutsuru Fine Art Museum

 In addition to the national museums and those run by the various autonomous bodies, there are many unique museums owned by enterprise owners, where private collections are on display. The Itsuo Art Museum (Osaka) and the Kosetsu Museum of Art (Kobe) feature collections of tea ceremony items, and the Kuboso Memorial Museum of Arts, Izumi features ancient oriental works of art from China and Japan, etc. and then there is the Kakimori Bunko facility at the Itami City Museum of Art, which features haiku pictures showing haiku poems.
 In recent years, various enterprises have established and begun operating museums and art museums as company cultural activities. The Museum Yamato Bunkakan (Nara), the Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum (Kobe), the Hakutsuru Fine Art Museum (Kobe), the Nomura Art Museum (Kyoto), the Sagawa Art Museum (Shiga), and the Otsuka Museum of Art (Tokushima), which has more than 1,000 accurate ceramic sheet replicas of famous Western paintings on display, are all well known museums of this type. The Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum (Kyoto), which has 18 steam locomotives on display, some of which are still functional, is also very famous.

Otsuka Museum of Art

 In regard to music facilities, there are several concert halls specializing in classical music in Kansai, including the first of this type in Japan, "The Symphony Hall" (Osaka), the Izumi Hall (Osaka), Kyoto Kaikan and the Kyoto Concert Hall. In regard to opera halls, there is the Biwako Hall, a general purpose hall, located on the shore of Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture, which has a tetrahedron stage, Performing Arts Center and the Archaic Hall in Hyogo Prefecture. The Umeda Arts Theater (Osaka) is a top-level theater by worldwide standards, and there is also the Shinkobe Oriental Theater, etc.

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