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ROM Connects: When disaster strikes, humour heals: Japanese Earthquake Prints

ROM’s newest online exhibition, produced in partnership with The Japan Foundation, Toronto, takes a closer look at an exceptional collected album of earthquake prints – namazue-e (catfish prints) - in the Museum’s permanent collections. Quickly produced and widely distributed after the 1855 Ansei Great Earthquake struck and heavily damaged the city of Edo (modern day Tokyo), catfish prints used humour and satire to help people make sense of and move on from the disaster. 

In this Zoom event, Toshi Aoyagi of the Japan Foundation joins ROM’s Akiko Takesue, curator of the online exhibition, to explore the unique historic and cultural context of the prints, and the importance of collaborative community partnerships in bringing the stories held in unique collections, such as this, to light. 

Toshi Aoyagi’s passion towards opera brought him from Tokyo, Japan, to Toronto, Canada in 1982. Via the world of origami paper folding, he began to work at The Japan Foundation, Toronto in 1993. Now as a program officer in the arts and culture department, he coordinates art projects and subsidy programs in the field of visual arts with a series of exhibitions and in performing arts including Cinema Kabuki. 

This program is co-presented by ROM and The Japan Foundation, Toronto for the online exhibition Aftershocks: Japanese Earthquake Prints.

Recorded December 6, 2022