Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 31: The Great Path to World Peace [31.18]

31.18 Making Art Available to All

In May 1973, President Ikeda founded the Fuji Art Museum in Shizuoka Prefecture, and in November 1983, the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum in Hachioji.1 Both institutions were a culmination of his efforts to promote cultural exchange, realized in collaboration with noted figures in the fields of art and culture around the world. In this selection, he recounts his motivation in establishing these art museums.

In November this year [2005], the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum will celebrate its 22nd anniversary. Over the years since its founding, it has developed into one of Japan’s leading private galleries, a premier repository of art and beauty.

With its guiding principle of serving as a “Portal to the World,” the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum has held numerous exhibitions featuring some of the world’s greatest masterpieces. Its collection includes some 30,000 works of Japanese, Asian, and Western art, covering a wide range of genres.

The core of the museum’s collection of Western paintings was formed with the assistance of the late René Huyghe, an internationally acclaimed art historian. Mr. Huyghe served as chief curator of drawings and paintings at the Louvre in Paris. During World War II, he risked his life to save many priceless art treasures of humanity from the occupying Nazi forces. I spoke with Mr. Huyghe multiple times, and we published a dialogue together, titled Dawn After Dark.

With his rich experience and expert eye, Mr. Huyghe provided extremely helpful and informed advice from the earliest planning stages of the museum, including the formation of the Western painting collection and suggestions for exhibitions. He played an instrumental role in the success of the museum’s opening exhibition, “Masterpieces of French Art” (1983–84), as well as “The Life, People and Nobles in 18th-Century France” (1986–87), “The French Revolution and Romanticism” (1987), and others. He continued to offer his advice and support until his death at the age of 90 in 1997. His guidance and instruction remain an invaluable guide for the museum to this day.

One of the purposes of an art museum is to make works of art previously enjoyed only by a privileged few available to the general public. The mission of the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum is just that—to provide ordinary citizens with the opportunity to experience first-rate works of art, making art accessible to all.

Genuine beauty moves us. The soul of art uplifts and inspires us, infusing our lives with fresh strength and vigor. Culture and education cultivate and enrich the human spirit, and are the foundation for building peace.

I can still hear the deep resonant voice of Mr. Huyghe saying that materialism is the cause of war and insisting that we must make our way through the desert of materialism to regenerate a vibrant “inner richness.” He called our friendship a “spiritual united front” dedicated to reviving the human spirit.

Let us energetically continue our own spiritual struggle, our efforts in the sphere of culture and education, to counter the savage materialism that lays waste to civilization. This is the path to peace and a future of true humanism.

From a speech at an education and culture conference, Tokyo, September 12, 2005.

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works on key themes.

  • *1President Ikeda founded the Fuji Art Museum in Shizuoka Prefecture in 1973 and the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum in Hachioji in 1983. In 2008, the Shizuoka museum closed and merged with the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum.