A tale of two cities: Life in Edo | Russel Wong in Kyoto, a double header exhibition at the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) that is focused on Japanese history, culture and craftsmanship, showcasing an amazing collection of woodblock prints and photography. The artworks on display tell stories of traditional and contemporary Japan, and how one era leads and merges into the other. 


For those who are big fans and lovers of Japan history, culture, craftsmanship, landscapes and travel, I reckon you would love this amazing and beautiful double header exhibition at ACM as you travel through time, history and culture starting from Life in Edo to modern day Japan via master photographer Russel Wong in Kyoto. 

Now, let’s start our journey of a tale of two cities starting with a trip back in time to Life in Edo period.

Life in Edo 

The Edo period (江戸時代) in Japan took place between 1603 to 1868. This was also a period where the arts and culture grew and flourished such as kabuki and ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world). Life in Edo is a showcase of woodblock prints and paintings known as ukiyo-e of the Edo period in Japan. 

When you visit this special exhibition, observe the artworks and paintings, they depict people’s travel, beauty, foods, entertainments and even their beloved pets of the Edo period. With an extensive collection of 157 colourful ukiyo-e prints, the most ever shown in a single exhibition in Singapore, you would be mesmerised by them. Life in Edo features works from great masters, including Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Hiroshige, Kitagawa Utamaro, Utagawa Kuniyoshi and more. 

As you are viewing and admiring the artworks on display inside this special exhibition at ACM, take your time, feel and connect with their lifestyle, culture and arts during the Edo period. Due to the nature of the prints being so light-sensitive, there will be a rotation of a completely new set of prints on display midway through the exhibition starting from 12th July onwards, this allows visitors to double their travel journeys into the life in old world of Japan during the Edo period. 

Russel Wong in Kyoto 

Exiting from Life in Edo section, you will now enter into contemporary Japan with Russel Wong in Kyoto exhibition. A master photographer, a celebrity photographer, very well known not just in Singapore, around the world too. As a photographer myself, I have also looked upon his works and greatly admired his portraiture photography works. 


The photographs in this Russel Wong in Kyoto exhibition showcases his 13-year long, ongoing personal project to document the Geiko of Kyoto, a glimpse into some of the rarely seen and lesser known traditions of this private community. There are forty black and white photographs on display, illustrating the customs and traditions of Geisha, known as “Geiko” in Kyoto. The photographs include the tea ceremony and the lesser known Erikae ceremony, a two week process where a Maiko (a Geiko in training) prepares herself to be come a Geiko. 

When you are viewing the photographs on display, observe the print size, almost all of the photographs there are printed in ōban (大判) size, the most popular woodblock print format during the Edo period. The ōban (大判) size photographs emulate the ukiyo-e prints from the Edo period. 

The photography masterpieces by Russel Wong in Kyoto are powerful, telling visual stories of how the popular arts and culture during Life in Edo continues on and merges into today’s modern contemporary Japan. 


Do visit their website and check out more of ACM onsite and online programmes as part of their special exhibition Life in Edo | Russel Wong in Kyoto. From workshops, talks to artist & curator tour, there might be something that interests you!

Not to be missed!

For fans and lovers of Japan history, culture, craftsmanship, landscapes and travel, don’t miss this amazing and beautiful double header exhibition at ACM as you travel through time, history and culture starting from Life in Edo to master photographer Russel Wong in Kyoto. 

Once you are inside this exhibition and get up close to the various artworks, crariftsmanship and photographs on display, you can feel that not only have you gone back in time to the Edo period, you are also visiting the sights, destinations and daily life of Kyoto, Japan, especially for those feeling the Japan travel wanderlust (like myself).


I would like to thank Asian Civilisations Museum for the invite to this special exhibition, Life in Edo | Russel Wong in Kyoto, with curator Clement Onn and artist master photographer Russel Wong leading the tour, sharing with us so much invaluable and priceless stories. 

Life in Edo | Russel Wong in Kyoto Exhibition at ACM

URL: https://www.nhb.gov.sg/acm/whats-on/exhibitions/life-in-edo-russel-wong-in-kyoto 

Venue: Asian Civilisations Museum 

Dates: 16th April to 19th September 2021 

            First rotation: 16th April to 11th July 2021

            Second rotation: 12th July to 19th September 2021

Admission: Singaporeans & Permanent Residents – $12

                   Foreign Residents & Tourists – $20 

*** You can use your Singapore Rediscovers Vouchers (SRV) packages to purchase your tickets to ACM’s special exhibition Life in Edo | Russel Wong in Kyoto, permanent galleries, plus discounts and a gift redemption from ACM MUSEUM LABEL Shop *** 

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