Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Man Who Loved Orchids and Peace

Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum,
Otokuni-gun, Kyoto Prefecture.

On June 16, 2005, I visited Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum (see the photo) with my wife to look at the exhibition of paintings mostly of Impressionism collected by this museum. The museum is located at the southern foot of Mt. Tenno between Kyoto and Osaka.

The building of the museum was originally built by the wealthy businessman Shotaro Kaga (1888–1954) from 1911 to 1929 as his own villa. Around 1990 Asahi Breweries, Ltd. bought the villa and repaired to make it a museum. The annex building to display mainly paintings was also built underground, and the museum was opened in 1996 [1, 2].

Kaga studied in Europe in his young days, and was attracted by the beauty of orchids. He eagerly tried to cultivate orchids at his villa to succeed in developing many new varieties. Near the end of the 2nd World War, soldiers came to ask him to put tanks in the garden of his villa. In spite of their use of violence, he did not accept the request, because he loved peace as well as orchids. He wished to make Japan known in the world not by her military force but by her culture [3].

  1. Leaflet, Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art.
  2. Web site, Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum.
  3. The story told by a video in the museum.