The Ekin Museum is located in Akaoka Town, Konan City, and displays folding screens painted by the artist Ekin. Ekin is the fond nickname used in central Kochi for Kinzo Hirose, an ukiyoe artist from the late Edo Period into the Meiji Period. Ekin was a talented artist from a young age, and learned the skills of painting as a student of the Kano School—historically Japan’s greatest school of painting. From there, he rose to become official artist of the Tosa Domain (modern-day Kochi). Ekin later left the Tosa Domain and moved to Akaoka Town, calling himself the town painter Kinzo. Using a warehouse as his studio, he painted the types of votive pictures and pictures for theater that the common people enjoyed, and became loved by the local fishermen and farmers.
Two elaborate plans were devised to display Ekin’s works in the Ekin Museum. One was “darkness and Ekin.” Displayed in a dim room to the wavering light of candles, the richly colored pictures look as though they might come to life at any moment. The other was “warehouse peepholes.” Of the 23 original paintings which have been damaged over the years, generally two are on display and can be seen through two peep holes drilled into the wall. There is also a reference room called “100 Stories of Ekin,” in which you can learn more about the man’s mysterious life. Akaoka holds a yearly event in July called the “Tosa Akaoka Ekin Festival,” in which each household specially displays their folding screens. Many tourists come to see the town painted in Ekin’s colors.
538 Akaoka-cho, Konan City, Kochi Prefecture
Business hours :
9:00 to 17:00
●Take a train from JR Kochi Station on the Gomen-Nahari Line and get off at Akaoka Station. About a 10-minute walk from Akaoka Station. ●About a 30-minute drive from Nankoku Exit on the Kochi Expressway.
●500 yen per person for adults; 300 yen for senior high school students: 150 yen for elementary/secondary school students ●450 yen per person for a group of adults; 250 yen for a group of senior high school students; 100 yen for a group of elementary/secondary school students (each group must have at least 15 people)