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Over 450 000 visitors in Finnish exhibition of Moomin art in Japan

Ihmiset jonottavat museoon Japanissa

The largest-ever exhibition of Moomin art by Finnish writer and artist Tove Jansson (1914–2001) has ended in Schizuoka 14 March 2021 after touring in Japan for two years. The exhibition was among the top events in a special line-up celebrating the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Finland and Japan in 2019.

Moomin: The Art and the Story exhibition featured over 600 of Tove Jansson’s original illustrations, drawings and paintings as well as a wealth of other Moomin-themed artefacts and archive material. Many of the exhibits were loans from the Moomin Museum (administered by Tampere Art Museum) and Moomin Characters Ltd. Various other private institutions, archives and museums have lent Moomin-themed material for the tour, too. The exhibition provided a broad overview of Jansson’s Moomin art all the way from the 1940s to the end of her life.

The extensive two-year tour took in eight cities around Japan and welcomed altogether over 450 000 visitors regardless of the restrictions caused by Covid-19.  The tour started in Tokyo Mori Art Museum in April 2019, where it was seen by 137 000 visitors. Only in the Prefectural Museum of Art in Iwata the exhibition had to be cancelled.

The touring exhibition was produced by Japan’s leading newspaper publisher, Asahi Shimbun. It was scripted and curated as a Japanese-Finnish collaboration between the Moomin Museum and Asahi Shimbun Cultural Projects. The Moomin Museum has produced a number of Japanese tours of Jansson’s Moomin art since the 1990s, simultaneously narrating the origin of the Moomins, Tampere and Finnish culture all around the world. Mutually, Japan has accounted for the largest number of foreign visitors at the Moomin Museum for decades.