Tokiwayama Bunko Foundation × Keio University A Journey Through Painting: The Expansive World of Zen Meditation

The Tokiwayama Bunko Foundation is an organization founded by Japanese industrialist Tsusai Sugawara and holds his collection of art since 1943, a portion of which is entrusted to Keio University. In commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Tokiwayama Bunko Foundation, the Keio Museum Commons will showcase its masterpieces along with other items from the Keio University collection.
Zen is one of the Buddhist denominations that do not rely on Buddhist scriptures, but instead emphasize ascetic practices such as zazen (seated meditation) and mondo (dialogue between a disciple and his master). Zen monks gazed with admiration at revered figures such as Bodhidharma, the founder of the sect, as well as other venerable sages who demonstrated the state of enlightenment. Japanese Zen temples also prized imported ink writings and paintings. These foreign artifacts and cultural influences went beyond the framework of religion and permeated the social climate of Japan, eventually forming the foundation of Muromachi culture.
Suiboku-ga (ink wash painting), a representative form of Zen Buddhist art, uses only ink and light coloring while leveraging on blank spaces, sometimes in combination with renowned poetry inscribed on the painting, to create landscapes and worlds that transcend time and space. While remaining in the room physically, visitors will be able to enter the world of painted landscapes, transcending time and space by exercising their imagination freely. This is the experience our exhibition aims to provide – for one to experience and enjoy the state of gayuu. We hope this will be an opportunity for visitors to experience and become familiar with Zen Buddhist art.

  • Date

    Monday, October 2 – Friday, December 1, 2023
    Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays
    Special opening on Saturday,: October 14 and November 25
    (Temporary Closing day: Monday, October 16 and Monday, November 20)

    11:00 – 18:00


    *Some artworks may be replaced during the exhibition period.
    *Please check the website for details.

  • Venue

    Keio Museum Commons (Mita Campus East Annex)

  • Audience

    Open to the public

  • Cost

    Admission free

  • Enquiries and



1. Buddhist Verse, by Zhejian Rying, Southern Song dynasty (13th century)
2. Kannon, with a willow twig in a vase, Known as Yoryukannon, Attributed by Ke Weng, Inscription by Yishan- Yining, Kamakura period(14th century)
3. Arhat (Rakan) ,Kamakura period(13th century)
4. Orchids, by Ikkyu Sojun, Muromachi period (15th century)
5. Landscapes, by Sesshu Toyo, Muromachi period (15th century)
6. Mountain Landscape in Snow, by Ikei-Shutoku, Inscription by Daigu-Soen, Muromachi period (16-17th century)
7. A gray starling perching on aronia tree, by Yushu, Muromachi period (16th century)
8. Full Moon and a pair of hare, by Zosan, Muromachi period (16th century)


Artworks 1,4,5: Keio University (Century Akao Collection)
Artworks 2,3,6,7,8: Tokiwayama Bunko Foundation (deposited at Keio University)


Click here for a list of exhibited works
*The display of no. 21, no. 29 and no.33 will be replaced during the exhibition period.
*no. 22 and no. 25 are exhibited in the first semester, and no. 26 and no. 30 are exhibited in the second semester (panels are exhibited outside of the exhibition period).


Related Programs

Gallery talks will be given by the museum’s staff. Everyone is welcome to attend (free admission, advance reservations required).

Date and time:

10/23(Monday)14:00–14:30 Clickhereto make a reservation Closed

11/24(Friday)14:00–14:30 Click here to make a reservation
Venue: Keio Museum Commons (Mita Campus East Annex)


*Gallery talks take place in Japanese only.
*Open to all.
*Please check the KeMCo website for event details.


Various programs related to the exhibition are planned. For more information, check the website.


Collaborative Event

“Thematic Exhibition
Treasures of the Tokiwayama Bunko Foundation: Commemorating its 80th Anniversary”

Dates: Tuesday, August 29—Sunday, October 22, 2023
Venue: Tokyo National Museum, Asian Gallery (Toyokan), Room 8


Press Release


Organization and operation
Organized by Keio Museum Commons, Tokiwayama Bunko Foundation
With cooperation from the Keio Institute of Oriental Classics (Shido Bunko)