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The Exhibition

This exhibition explores British royal encounters with Japan over a period of 350 years.

From samurai armour sent to James I in 1613, to a Coronation gift for Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, Japanese treasures have reached the British Court through trade, travel and treaties.

Each object on display reflects materials and techniques particular to Japan. Uniquely, many were commissioned or presented by the Japanese Imperial Family. Together, they reveal the ceremonial, diplomatic and artistic exchange linking the two courts of East and West.

Discover the exhibits in the sections below

First Encounters

The first diplomatic gift from Japan to Britain


200 years of trade restrictions made valuable Japanese wares all the more desirable


Japan's policy of isolation ended in the 1850s, opening up diplomatic opportunities


An Anglo-Japanese alliance renewed British interest in Japan in the early 20th century


A Coronation gift that symbolises a new era of friendship

In Japanese | 日本語