The Terracotta Warriors exhibit highlights the cultural connection between China and Japan

A visitor looks at an exhibit at the media preview of the exhibition Terracotta Warriors and Ancient China: Legacy from the Qin and Han Dynasties at the Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo, Japan, November 21, 2022. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, the exhibition recently opened at the Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo, the final leg of her traveling exhibition in Japan for almost a year.  (Xinhua/Yangguang)

A visitor looks at an exhibit at the media preview of the ‘Terracotta Warriors and Ancient China: Legacy from the Qin and Han Dynasties’ exhibition at the Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo, Japan, November 21, 2022. Commemorating the 50th anniversary With the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations, the exhibition recently opened at the Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo, the final leg of its nearly year-long touring exhibition in Japan. (Xinhua/Yangguang)


Visitors are seen at the media preview of the Terracotta Warriors and Ancient China: Heritage from the Qin and Han Dynasty exhibition at the Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo, Japan, November 21, 2022.  Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan Diplomatic Relations, the exhibition recently opened at Tokyo's Ueno Royal Museum is the final leg of its nearly year-long touring exhibition in Japan.

Visitors are seen at the media preview of the Terracotta Warriors and Ancient China: Heritage from the Qin and Han Dynasty exhibition at the Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo, Japan on November 21, 2022. Commemorating the 50th normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations, the exhibition recently opened at Tokyo’s Ueno Royal Museum, the final leg of its nearly year-long touring exhibition in Japan.

Visitors are seen at the media preview of the Terracotta Warriors and Ancient China: Heritage from the Qin and Han Dynasty exhibition at the Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo, Japan, November 21, 2022.  Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan Diplomatic Relations, the exhibition recently opened at Tokyo's Ueno Royal Museum is the final leg of its nearly year-long touring exhibition in Japan.

Visitors are seen at the media preview of the Terracotta Warriors and Ancient China: Heritage from the Qin and Han Dynasty exhibition at the Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo, Japan on November 21, 2022. Commemorating the 50th normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations, the exhibition recently opened at Tokyo’s Ueno Royal Museum, the final leg of its nearly year-long touring exhibition in Japan.

A pedestrian walks past a large poster for the exhibition Terracotta Warriors and Ancient China: Heritage from the Qin and Han Dynasty in front of the Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo, Japan, on November 21, 2022.  Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan Diplomatic Relations, the exhibition recently opened at Tokyo's Ueno Royal Museum is the final leg of its nearly year-long touring exhibition in Japan.  (Xinhua/Yangguang)

A pedestrian walks past a large poster for the exhibition ‘Terracotta Warriors and Ancient China: Legacy of the Qin and Han Dynasties’ in front of the Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo, Japan, on November 21, 2022. Commemorating the 50th normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations, the exhibition recently opened at Tokyo’s Ueno Royal Museum, the final leg of its nearly year-long touring exhibition in Japan. (Xinhua/Yangguang)

Recently, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, the exhibition “Terracotta Warriors and Ancient China: Legacy from the Qin and Han Dynasties” opened at the Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo, the final stage of its almost one-year existence -long traveling exhibition in Japan.

“I think the Terracotta Warriors should also be called ambassadors because, like giant pandas, they can let people feel the charm of China wherever they go,” said Kazuyuki Tsuruma, Japanese historian and honorary professor at Gakushuin University.

Tsuruma is a history professor specializing in the study of ancient Chinese history. He told Xinhua that another important reason why Japanese young people like to see terracotta warriors and horses and learn about the history of the Qin and Han dynasties is that Japanese young people have a certain ability to learn Chinese read.

In 1974, the discovery of the Terracotta Army caused a sensation around the world. In 1976 the first foreign exhibition of the Terracotta Warriors took place in Japan.

Tang Qishan, curator of the current exhibition and executive director of the Japan-China Cultural Association, said, “At that time, about 1.5 million people queued to visit the Tokyo National Museum. The popularity was no less than that of the giant pandas coming to Japan.”

Tang said he hopes the exhibition will allow Japanese people to learn about the great culture of China’s Qin and Han dynasties, and also revisit the history of Sino-Japanese cultural exchange in 1976.

Previous exhibitions in Kyoto, Shizuoka and Nagoya have been very successful, with 240,000 visitors already, Tang said, adding, “What makes us even happier is that there are so many young people among the spectators. We are very pleased with the enthusiasm shown by Japanese youth for Chinese Qin culture.”

With a total of 121 sets of cultural relics from cultural institutions and museums in the Chinese provinces of Shaanxi and Hunan, the large-scale exhibition is divided into three parts “Qin on the Eve of Reunification”, “The Birth of the United Dynasty” and “The Prosperity” of Han- Dynasty.” The terracotta warriors and horses, stone artifacts, bronzeware, and other exhibits on display range from the Western Zhou Dynasty to the Eastern Han Dynasty.

Guo Xiangdong, deputy director of the Qinshihuang Emperor’s Mausoleum Site Museum, said, “You can get a close-up 360-degree view of the details of the terracotta warriors and horses on display, and identify the type and rank of the warriors by their armor and armor Identify headgear.”

In the exhibition hall, one of the exhibits, bronze chariot and horse No. 2, is surrounded by a circle of manga works. “It’s a very popular Japanese manga series titled Kingdom, which is set in the Qin and Han dynasties. You can see the bronze chariots and horses depicted in the manga,” Guo explained.

“This way of showing comics and real cultural relics at the same time in the same space is also an important reason why it attracts so many young people,” added Guo.

Tsuruma said that during his more than 40 years of teaching at the university, many students came to him to learn about ancient Chinese history, where he would help young Japanese improve their Chinese reading skills through historical documents such as Shiji or the Records of the Grand Historian, while combining historical documents with archaeological objects to increase students’ interest in learning.

This exhibition is an excellent opportunity for more Japanese young people to learn about ancient Chinese history and culture through living cultural relics, Tsuruma said.

“Exhibitions of cultural relics are the best vehicle for people-to-people cultural exchanges, and I hope the terracotta ambassadors can play a better role in promoting exchanges and friendship between the two peoples,” Tsuruma noted.

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