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The Ad Museum Tokyo

Advertisements can be found everywhere in Tokyo, from billboards towering over Shibuya to rolling train ads playing on repeat. Of course, advertisements are used to sell, but not many know the psychological effects or history behind them. Visitors can learn about the world of commercials at the Advertising Museum in Shimbashi. This free museum offers interactive exhibitions and displays featuring the history, design and psychology behind some of the world’s most famous advertisements.

  • The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The Advertising Museum is located in Caretta Shiodome, a shopping center. The main museum is located on the bottom floor. The museum itself is a brightly design space, decorated with light wood and vintage posters. It opened in 2002, making it the only advertising museum in Japan.

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    Arrows guide visitors through the open plan museum. The first stop explains the history of advertising in Japan, which started in the Meiji era. The rise of advertising was in sync with the rise of western culture in Japan, starting in the early 20th century. The museum guides visitors from the end of the 19th century to the present day.

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The very beginning of the Meiji era used woodblock prints, called nishiki-e, for advertising. At the museum, visitors can see replicas of the original advertisements, starring illustrated samurai and demons instead of models. Each display has both Japanese and English descriptions underneath it. After the Meiji era, visitors are guided into the Showa era where they can look at posters advertising products that are still popular now, such as Sapporo beer or Mitsukoshi department store. They also learn about some of the famous ad-men that created some of the most infamous and controversial posters of their time. A small section of the display is dedicated to Sugiura Hisui, Kataoka Toshiro and Kishimoto Suifu, all of whom turned commercials into an art form.

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    After the ad-men profiles, visitors are led to the more modern era of advertising. The post war era created a boom in radio, television and movies, which allowed for moving advertisements with sound. The westernization of Asia brought along imported movies and celebrities, among whom became the newest stars in movie posters and commercials. Televisions play archived commercials and radio ads from the 1940s. Headphones are provided for listening in private.

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The rest of the museum focuses on modern day advertising in the 21st century. Advertising is now considered an art form or entertainment rather than just the sole purpose of selling a product. Clouds fill the center of the museum, and each one represents a feeling. There is a screen inside of the cloud that plays a selection of short commercials that prompt the viewer to get in touch with their emotions. There are also interactive tablets where visitors can browse through hundreds of advertisements.

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

  • The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    Hall B is the rotating exhibition room. The current exhibition features the 2018 Cannes Lion winners, from December 7th 2018 to January 26th 2019, a festival celebrating the best in creativity. The exhibition focuses on print and video that are not selling products but publicizing events or warning about the dangers of fast food. This shows how much advertising has evolved over the past century, from just selling a product to creating a new artform and persuading the world to be a better place.

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The second floor holds a museum, featuring books on advertising and art in both Japanese and English. The area is quiet and relaxed and a good way to learn more about the advertising world. There is also a selection of children’s books in both languages.

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The Ad Museum Tokyo

    The Advertising Museum is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 11AM to 6PM. It is located in Caretta Shiodome on the bottom floor, a five minute walk from Shimbashi station. There is no charge to enter.

    Advertising Museum Tokyo
    Address
    Tokyo Minato-ku Higashishimbashi 1-8-2 Caretta Shiodome B1/B2
    Phone
    0362182500
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