Japanese cultural centre in Kraków turns 25

The Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology in Kraków, southern Poland, celebrates its 25th birthday. Several workshops, art displays and the tea ceremony are planned to take place on Sunday, during the museum’s holiday called Manggha Matsuri.

The facility’s officials stress that it is a double celebratory occasion because the centenary of the establishment of Polish-Japanese diplomatic relations also falls in 2019.

"Suddenly we’ve realised that our activity covers a quarter of that time," the Manggha Museum Deputy Director Katarzyna Nowak told the Polish Press Agency (PAP), adding that due to the double anniversary, theatre performances and exhibitions have been organised throughout the year.

Those who visit the museum on Sunday will be able to see the "Nihonto" exhibition which shows 37 Japanese swords from different periods of Japanese history and "Andrzej Wajda’s Japanese notebook,” which contains sketches and drawings made by the acclaimed Polish film director during his seven trips to Japan.

Mr Wajda is of exceptional importance to the history of Manggha museum, as it was he who allocated the funds from the Kyoto Prize, which he received in 1987 for the establishment of the facility that will become, as he always wanted, “a Japanese home in Kraków”. He has received support from many circles in Japan, including its government.

“This is not only a museum but a place that incorporates various activities. Manggha has become such a Japanese home. The Japanese are eager to come here," Krystyna Zachwatowicz-Wajda, wife of the late Andrzej Wajda said.

Comic book enthusiasts will be able to take part in the "Dragon Portraits" workshops, while the tutorials for creating ikebana and kokedama await those keen on flower arrangement art. There will also be a tea ceremony and for younger visitors, the showcasing of Japanese fairy tales.

The Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology was opened on November 30, 1994. For 15 years it has been an independent institution supervised by the Ministry of Culture.

The facility is visited by over 100,000 people annually. It promotes knowledge not only about the history and culture of Japan, but the whole Far East.