Arthur M. Sackler Gallery announces Kiyochika: Master of the Night

The Japanese city of Edo ceased to exist Sept. 3, 1868. Renamed Tokyo (“Eastern Capital”) by Japan’s new rulers, the city became the central experiment in a national drive towards modernization. In “Kiyochika: Master of the Night,” on view at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery March 29–July 12, the radically transforming capital city reappears in a series of woodblock prints by Kobayashi Kiyochika. The exhibition will be open during the National Cherry Blossom Festival (March 20–April 22), Washington, D.C.’s springtime celebration of Japanese culture.

A self-taught artist and minor retainer of the Tokugawa shogun deposed in 1868, Kiyochika (1847–1915) returned to Tokyo from self-imposed exile in 1874 to discover his hometown transformed by railroads, steamships, gaslights and brick buildings—all beyond imagination just a few years earlier. He set out to record these new scenes, where old and new stood together in awkward alliance, in an auspicious and ambitious series of 100 woodblock prints.

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, located at 1050 Independence Avenue S.W., and the adjacent Freer Gallery of Art, located at 12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W., are on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day (closed Dec. 25), and admission is free. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information about the Freer and Sackler galleries and their exhibitions, programs and other public events, visit