Sep 21 – Nov 17
Jean-Michel Basquiat rose from graffiti hobbyist to king of the glitzy 1980s art world in just a few years. In a mere decade, he produced thousands of drawings and paintings to cement his position as a prolific painter and modern-day folklorist. In addition to the aesthetics of jazz, hip-hop and African culture, he incorporated many Japanese motifs: hiragana, the yen sign, symbols of the (then-booming) Japanese economy. “Made in Japan,” Basquiat’s first large-scale exhibition in the country, explores this little-known relationship with over 130 paintings, drawings, 3-D figures and videoworks.
10m – 8pm
¥1,800 (Discounts for students, children and seniors)
Mori Arts Center Gallery
6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku
Sep 14 – Nov 4
In Japan as well as abroad, the word “samurai” is often used to evoke historical images of Japan, particularly those of the Edo period. However, due to being an internationally recognized term, the denotation and subsequent associations of the word vary greatly. Edo-Tokyo Museum’s exhibition offers incredible insight on the prominence of the samurai “warrior” class and its place within the shogun-dominated environment of premodern Japan – the source of contemporary impressions of the samurai warrior.
9:30am – 5:30pm (Sat until 7:30pm, closed Mondays)
¥1,100 (Discounts for students)
1-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida-ku
English band Swervedriver broke onto the indie scene in the early 90s and were classified as shoegaze alongside contemporaries such as Chapterhouse, Slowdive and Ride. Swervedriver, however, were always a bit heavier and dabbled in a sound which was arguably closer to heavy rock and grunge. Hailing from Oxford, like Ride, the band enjoyed much success on the indie circuit in the 90s. After an extended hiatus the group reformed and come to Tokyo for one night at Shibuya’s WOMB venue followed by a surprise gig (on Sep 3) alongside Japanese rock fiends Coaltar of the Deepers also at WOMB.
2-16 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku
Scotland’s much-loved sons The Twilight Sad come to Tokyo as part of an Asian tour which also takes in cities such as Hong Kong and Beijing. The noisy five piece have made a name for themselves for heavy rock infused tunes sung in frontman James Graham’s strong Scottish brogue. The band frequently support The Cure and have a loyal following on the global indie scene. Expect a huge crowd at the gig at Shimokitazawa’s legendary Fever venue.
1-1-14 Hanegi, Setagaya-ku
Todd Terje, superstar Norwegian DJ and producer, graces Tokyo with his presence for a fun-packed night at Shibuya club Contact. One of the biggest names in the industry Terje has made a name for himself for his remixes and edits before branching out with his own sound and by collaborating with other big names such as Robbie Williams, Franz Ferdinand and Bryan Ferry. Terje is supported by Kikiorix, DJ Smooth Failing and others.
2-10-12 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku
Until Sep 23
Muji’s flagship store in Ginza is basically a minimalist’s one-stop paradise. In addition to a produce market, bakery and diner, the seven-story lifestyle giant also houses two galleries. As a part of the “Archives” series, which aims to preserve essential design-related records, ATELIER MUJI offers an intimate look at one of Germany’s most influential art movements. Born in 1919 at the hands of individual artists and architects, the Bauhaus was an innovative design school that revolutionized modernist aesthetics and design education. This exhibit celebrates the school’s centennial anniversary.
10am – 9pm
ATELIER MUJI Gallery 2
3-3-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku
Sep 7 – 9
It’s not often that a gallery space is just as renowned as the objects within. artKYOTO is a three-day art fair at Nijo-jo Castle, which served as the shogun’s abode and a cultural center in Japan’s former capital. Thirty-one artists and art dealers from Japan and abroad will exhibit on the castle grounds, occupying such sites as the palatial gardens and a former watchtower. Works include Heian Buddhist masterpieces, Meiji-era metalwork, postwar Japanese drawings and even paintings by van Gogh and Picasso. The fair will close at 4pm on September 9.
11am – 8pm
¥3,000 (Discounts for students and advance)
Nijo-jo Castle (Former Imperial Villa)
541 Nijo-jo-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
Until Oct 14
Situated between economic giants Germany and Russia, Poland emerged as a well-established nation. However, as a result of its geographical positioning, Poland repeatedly fell under the jurisdiction of its powerful neighbors. Despite several reformations, Poland continued to keep its aesthetically distinct art presence. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Japanese government and Poland. To celebrate this poignant milestone, TOP Museum is holding an exhibition that highlights the ambition and ambiguity of contemporary Polish art while simultaneously providing insight into the issues associated with shifting European relations.
10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Adults ¥500 (Discounts for students and seniors)
Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
1-13-3 Mita, Meguro-ku
Sep 14 – 15
Mikkeller Beer Celebration is back in Tokyo this September, this time right in the heart of Shibuya. As the sun sets on the scorching summer, Mikkeller promises Tokyoites an unlimited tasting of over 320 beers from 40 breweries across the world. From the tropical notes of Beavertown’s Pale Ale to the Imperial IPA of Hong Kong’s Young Master, only the best of the international stage is on show. Good beer, good times and the chance to pick up a commemorative glass too. (11am – 2:30pm, 4:30pm – 8pm).
11am – 2:30pm, 4:30pm – 8pm
¥12,500 – ¥56,000
Shibuya Stream Hall
3-21-3 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku
Sep 7 – 8
Widely considered as the birthplace of civil aviation in Japan, Chiba has seen sell-out crowds since it first hosted the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in 2015. Fans flock to the shoreline by the thousands to get a piece of the annual action. Unlike previous years, the air race will take place in September instead of its usual spring. With such a significant turn out, you know that this high-stakes, high-adrenaline event is simply not to be missed.
2-3 Hibino, Mihama-ku, Chiba
Sep 20 – 21
For several years running, the Tokyo National Museum has been converting its gorgeous courtyard into an open-air cinema spot over a single special weekend. This year’s showing is the critically acclaimed anime In This Corner of the Word. Set in Hiroshima, the wartime drama follows young Suzu and her community’s perseverance through the roughly ten years leading up to the atomic bomb. Note that English subtitles will not be available. Guests can enjoy a free film, food and drink stalls as long they pay the museum entrance fee.
Tokyo National Museum
13-9 Uenokoen, Taito-ku