Preface - Portraits of Modern Japanese Historical Figures

This exhibition presents portrait photographs of approximately 600 statesmen, government officials, military officers, businessmen, scholars and artists, who had an impact on building modern Japanese society.

The faces and figures of people are one of the most notable features when we attempt to identify or understand someone. We have been attracted by portraits in all ages and have used various media for presenting the portraits. Prior to the advent of films and television which present true-to-life likenesses of people, famous people could only be seen through media such as newspapers, books and other publications.

Although many of the photographs from those early days have been lost, photographs printed in books have shown us the faces and figures of people. Selecting portraits from these photographs preserved in relatively good condition for almost over a century, in July 2004 we started the electronic exhibition "Portraits of Modern Japanese Historical Figures".

At the beginning, this exhibition showed portraits of 220 famous people. Fortunately, this has attracted many visitors. We have selected representative persons from a greater diversity of fields and the total now comes to 600 persons. Each portrait is accompanied by a brief biography of the person portrayed to let you know about his/her life.