printing museum, Tokyo

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Exhibition: Birth of Korean Metal Type Culture

A decade has already passed since the Cheongju Early Printing Museum in Korea and the Printing Museum, Tokyo signed their tie-up agreement as partners in printing culture. The two have worked on many projects and achieved many landmarks through their joint activities. Each partner prizes what it has learned from the other in know-how and institutional success as a repository of printing culture. Though operating in quite different environments, both museums work in a common direction based on a shared understanding of the history of printing and determination to contribute to printing culture in the present.

Metal type printing in Korea preceded metal type printing in Japan. A book in metal type print, a work entitled the “direct finger”, was published in the early 14th century In Cheongju, South Korea. Typography continued to evolve in the ensuing years of the Joseon Dynasty. Much later, basic techniques introduced from Korea went into the creation of the Suruga copper print, an important cultural property owned by our museum, under the patronage of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Though abandoned in Japan for many years, the technology was revived it into a new genre of Japanese culture that was to flower in the modern world.

An exhibition entitled the “Birth of Korean Metal Type Culture” is now open to visitors in the museum’s special exhibition space. The show commemorates the 10th anniversary of cooperation between the two museums and is expected to contribute to the development of printing culture in the future. We invite you to visit the exhibition to help deepen ties between the museums and between the cultures and peoples the museums represent.

March, 2014

Koichi Kabayama
Printing Museum, Tokyo

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