The Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology was a branch of the National Museum in Kraków for ten years, and at the same time the venue of the proactive activities of Andrzej Wajda and Krystyna Zachwatowicz’s Kyoto–Krakow Foundation. In 2005, the Decision of the Minister of Culture granted the Manggha autonomy, changing its status to that of a state cultural institution, and since 2007 it has operated as a museum. In accordance with the Founders’ idea, a special place was created in Kraków as ‘a home for the collection of Japanese art’ amassed mostly by Feliks ‘Manggha’ Jasieński, who donated it to the National Museum in 1920. (The Collection of Far Eastern Art of the National Museum in Kraków was definitively deposited with the Manggha Museum in 2009).
Ever since its inception, the Manggha Museum has combined the functions of a museum and an active cultural centre, disseminating knowledge about Japan and the Far East. In practice, this combination led to the crystallization of a new type of cultural institution, overlapping, in terms of form and effects, with the understanding of the role of a contemporary museum: that of a dynamic institution, introducing new forms of activity, going far beyond accumulating, processing and displaying collections.
The modern friendly building, designed by Arata Isozaki, a celebrated Japanese architect, accommodates a museum of a new type, which introduces novel methods and forms of operation. Its main task is to propagate art in as interdisciplinary an approach as possible. Relying on our extensive experience and contacts, we focus primarily on the visual arts, but also on the music, theatre, film, literature, philosophy and religion of Japan and the Far East. So far, we have held over 100 exhibitions of traditional and contemporary Japanese art: prints, paintings, photographs, installations, as well as state-of-the-art Japanese technologies. Invariably great interest is shown in ukiyo-e woodblock prints from the collection of Feliks ‘Manggha’ Jasieński; examples of such exhibitions include Mount Fuji. Hokusai and Hiroshige, Utamaro. A Different View, or The Treasury of Loyal Retainers.
The Manggha Museum shows the mutual cultural relations between Poland and Japan, the East and the West. It focuses primarily on visual arts, but also on the music, theatre, film, literature, philosophy and religion of Japan and the Far East.