The inaugural edition of the major new international art fair Tokyo Gendai closed with robust sales, ambitious presentations from 73 international galleries, and strong attendance from local and international visitors. Organized by The Art Assembly, and with SMBC Group as Principal Partner, the Fair took place at Pacifico Yokohama from 7-9 July 2023 (VIP Preview on 6 July) and attracted 20,907 visitors, including leading collectors, art museums and institutions.

Cementing Japan’s status as an unmissable art destination and a focal point in the regional and global art market, Tokyo Gendai gathered together collectors from across the world for presentations of established and emerging Japanese and international artists. The local art scene was brought to life for visitors to the fair through a dynamic program of satellite events at acclaimed local institutions, talks with leading lights from the Japanese creative community, special curated exhibitions, and new commissions highlighting the very best of the vibrant contemporary culture of Japan.

Magnus Renfrew Co-Founder, Tokyo Gendai says: ‘The success of the inaugural edition of Tokyo Gendai establishes the fair as an important new fixture on the art calendar, and reinforces Japan’s status as a key art market center. We are grateful to the support of our partners and galleries, and it has been wonderful to witness the ways in which the local art scene has embraced the fair with special events throughout the week. The level of engagement from the Japanese art community is testament to the strong appetite from local collectors and the great potential of the market here as a pivotal hub in the region. We look forward to continuing to build upon this in the years to come.’

Eri Takane, Fair Director, Tokyo Gendai says: ‘We have been thrilled to see the energy and enthusiasm from visitors to the first ever edition of the fair, where they have been able to enjoy and discover a world-class selection of artworks from across the globe. Through our special programs Tokyo Gendai has helped to celebrate Japanese contemporary culture: from shining a spotlight on pioneering Japanese women artists, to new commissions, to conversations with leading voices in the creative community. Our international visitors have been able to explore some of the most exciting art happening in Japan today, while locals were able to experience the global art world right on their doorstep.’

Jun Ohta, President and Group CEO of SMBC says: ‘We are pleased to announce that Tokyo Gendai was a great success with many visitors. We hope that the success of Tokyo Gendai will contribute to the ongoing development of Japan’s art scene.’


Leading private collectors, museum directors, curators and patrons from over 34 countries visited Tokyo Gendai and took part in the exciting array of cultural offerings taking place around the fair. VIPs in attendance included collector and Chairperson of The Obayashi Foundation Takeo Obayashi; collector and co-founder of the Taguchi Art Collection, Miwa Taguchi; Shane Akeroyd, collector and founder of the Akeroyd Collection; Ryutaro Takahashi, collector and founder of the Takahashi Ryutaro Collection; Thomas Shao, collector and Founder and CEO of Meta Media, as well as notable collectors Pedro Barbosa; Rudi Lazuardi; Yusaku Maezawa; Shunji and Asako Oketa; Matthew Shieh; Patrick Sun; Shin Takeuchi; and Kankuro Ueshima. The fair was also delighted to welcome visitors from leading institutions including Yoshiko Mori, Chairperson of the Mori Art Museum; Mami Kataoka, Director of the Mori Art Museum; Yuko Hasegawa, Director of the Kanazawa 21st Century Museum; Fumio Nanjo, Special Director of Arts Maebashi; Naimah Khalid, founder of the Ilham Gallery, Edmund Cheng Chairman of the Singapore Art Museum, and Michiko Kasahara, Deputy Director of the Artizon Museum. Tokyo Gendai also extended a warm welcome to Digital Minister Taro Kono, and to the US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emmanuel and his wife Amy Rule, as well as politician Tamayo Marukawa. Visiting artists included Hiroshi Sugimoto, Kohei Nawa, Shinji Omaki and Nami Yokoyama. Other notable visitors included Hong Kong actor Tony Leung; Tadashi Yanai, President of Uniqlo, actor Tadanobu Asano, and writer Haruki Murakami.

Takeo Obayashi, collector and founder of the Obayashi Collection says: ‘The very first Tokyo Gendai was a roaring success. The quality of the works was high, and it was a great opportunity to see works that are highly valued in overseas markets. I hope that more overseas galleries will participate in future editions and that the fair will continue to develop’

Yoshiko Mori, Chairperson of the Mori Art Museum said: ‘All the booths were spacious, open and very easy to see, and the atmosphere at the preview was very positive; it was a pleasure to see many visitors from overseas, especially from neighboring Asia. It was great to see galleries from overseas, such as Sadie Coles HQ and Josh Lilley exhibiting at the fair. I also felt that the Japanese galleries brought forth a number of very talented artists.’

Mami Kataoka, Director of the Mori Art Museum says: ‘Perhaps because of the spatial composition at Tokyo Gendai, or because of the presence of overseas galleries, there was an atmosphere reminiscent of other international art fairs. There is a thirst for international events in Japan, and I hope that fairs will take root here and that contemporary art will be widely promoted among the general public.’

Shane Akeroyd, collector and founder of the Akeroyd Collection says: ‘Tokyo Gendai was a fantastic opportunity to see both standout international galleries and to discover local Japanese galleries. It was extremely well attended and served as a meeting point for collectors, both from Japan and around the rest of the world. I was impressed by the quantity of events in and around the fair, bringing everyone together to explore Japan’s vibrant art scene. The Japanese economy is in great shape and presented a perfect moment to launch a new fair.’

Takahashi Ryutaro, Founder of the Takahashi Ryutaro Collection says: ‘For the first time in a long time, I felt that a Japanese art fair had reached international standards. Tomoko Mukaiyama’s performance on the 7th July was also a wonderful experience.’

Thomas Shao, collector and Founder and CEO of Meta Media says: ‘The first Tokyo Gendai is really excellent. Tokyo Gendai fuses international and local art; bringing audiences from all over the world, serving as a platform for international galleries introducing international artists to Japan, as well as for local Japanese galleries showcasing local artists to an international audience. Galleries presented multi-dimensional works ranging from traditional Japanese cultural motifs, characteristics, and aesthetics, to deep reflections on various social topics, to iconic Japanese pop cultural references. Both international and Chinese galleries seemed to be very optimistic and encouraged by the expanding Japanese market.’


Strong sales took place throughout the fair week, with some of the reported sales including: Sundaram Tagore Gallery sold a work by Hiroshi Senju, priced at USD 645,000 to the Hirosawa Museum collection; Almine Rech sold works by Tom Wesselmann ranging between USD 425,000 – 460,000, a work by Chloe Wise for USD 101,000 – 110,000, and a work by Alexandre Lenoir for USD 109,000 – 120,000; Blum & Poe sold works by Yoshitomo Nara, Kazunori Hamana and Kenjiro Okasaki, for prices between USD 20,000 – USD 400,000; Fitzpatrick Gallery sold a work by Jill Mulleady for over JPY 50,000,000; Sadie Coles HQ sold works by Alex de Corte, Wilhelm Sasnal, Kati Heck and Nicola Tyson ranging between USD 5,000 – 200,000; Perrotin largely sold out their booth by the end of the first day, with works by Mathilde Denize, for prices up to EUR 30,000, and Toh Djodjo, for prices up to USD 20,000. Carl KOSTYÀL sold out their booth of works by Marria Pratts ranging from EUR 30,000 – 50,000. Hillside Gallery sold six works by Shinya Sato at around USD 30,000 and three works by Masaru Shichinohe at around USD 40,000 on the first day; Kaikai Kiki sold out all works by Mr; Ceysson & Bénétière sold six works by Claude Viallat ranging from USD 10,000 – 30,000 to collectors from France, China, the United States, Korea and Singapore. In addition, Tthe large-scale installation by Ryuichi Ohira created specially for Tokyo Gendai and displayed at the center of the fair was also sold by NANZUKA to a Japanese collector.

Galleries exhibiting across all sectors of the fair applauded the launch edition:

Tim Blum, Co-Founder Blum & Poe (Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo) says: ‘I’ve been very impressed with how in a relatively short period of time in an already very crowded art calendar, Tokyo Gendai pulled off a beautifully designed, well-constructed fair with an excellent group of both local, regional and international galleries. We had excellent overall sales, both domestically and regionally.’

John O’Doherty, Director, Sadie Coles HQ (London) says: ‘The fair provided an excellent opportunity to strengthen our relationships with existing clients as well as introduce our program to an emerging class of new collectors in Japan.’

Masami Shiraishi, Director, SCAI The Bathhouse, (Tokyo) says: ‘It was really interesting to see the same space 30 years after the last international art fair. Things have really changed since then, and the number of globally recognised artists being shown has grown hugely, making this event a major international phenomenon. I have high expectations for the future of the fair.’

Sundaram Tagore, President & Curator, Sundaram Tagore Gallery (New York, Singapore, London) said: ‘It was very exciting to be at Tokyo Gendai. I’ve been coming to Tokyo since 1993, but this is the first time we were able to show our artists and to represent one of the most internationally famous Japanese artists (Hiroshi Senju). We are absolutely thrilled that Hirosawa Museum has bought this truly museum quality piece.’

Maho Kubota, Founder of Maho Kubota Gallery (Tokyo) says: ‘‘This has been our most successful fair ever. As it is the first edition we wanted to make the best possible presentation with sought-after artists from our gallery program. At the same time, I’m very happy that visitors to this fair are eager to discover something new, and to get a deeper understanding of the art at the fair and the artists’ rich insights.’

Stephanie Vaillant, Senior Director, Perrotin Tokyo says: ‘We found Tokyo Gendai to be energetic, successful, and well attended by both local and regional collectors, institutions, and professionals. It was a good opportunity to introduce the artists we presented to a larger audience and to gauge the market. We were pleased to have been able to establish connections with new clients and hope that the special measures that Tokyo Gendai was able to provide will continue and help the Japanese art scene to further diversify and flourish.’

Joeonna Bellorado-Samuels, Senior Director, Jack Shainman Gallery, (New York), says: ‘As Tokyo Gendai comes to a close, we feel as though we were able to introduce ourselves to an exciting new mix of collectors, curators and critics. We also had the pleasure of spending quality time with those who we have existing relationships with. The energy of the fair was palpable and one could feel that the city was ready and excited for what Gendai is bringing. We were also able to place works with notable collections in Japan and the surrounding region.’

Robert Okuda Fitzpatrick, Owner / Director, Fitzpatrick Gallery (Paris) says: ‘It was our first time doing a fair in Asia, and I was very impressed by the caliber of people that we met, including some very interesting local collectors. But, more importantly, we were impressed by the number of museum curators that came by and expressed interest in learning more about the artist we showed (Jill Mulleady), whose work they may have seen before but were otherwise unfamiliar with. For us, this was a great introduction to Japan, with a strong curatorial audience.’

Masahiro Maki, Director of Maki Gallery (Tokyo) said: ‘It was great to see new and existing collectors coming together at the fair. Collectors from Taiwan, Macau, Singapore, Korea, and beyond came to make purchases. It’s satisfying to know that collectors who were new to Japan responded so well, 90% of works on the booth have sold already.’


The fair program included Tsubomi ‘Flower Bud’ showcasing a special exhibition spotlighting the work of major Japanese women artists; the premier of a newly commissioned installation performance “figurante” by Tomoko Mukaiyama, an Art Talks program of conversations with leading lights from Japan’s creative community, the NE section (meaning ‘root’) presenting several leading local foundations, who host special showcases of their work; satellite exhibitions at renowned local institutions such as the Mori Art Museum; The National Art Center, Tokyo, and Artizon Museum.

The week around the fair featured a series of special events, exhibitions and gallery evenings that encouraged Tokyo Gendai visitors to immerse themselves in the local culture of Japan including a special open gallery evening on 5 July ‘YUKATA de ART’ where visitors were invited to enjoy the buzzing galleries of Roppongi, a district in Tokyo known for its exciting cultural scene. Meanwhile TERRADA ART COMPLEX, one of Japan‘s most significant art complexes and home to numerous leading art galleries, hosted a series of special programs, TERRADA ART WEEK, including Gallery Night on 7 July.

Tokyo Gendai was supported by a grant from the Japan Tourism Agency which went towards a bespoke VIP program of unique experiences highlighting cultural havens around Japan including special events within the city of Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, including a visit to the Sankeien Garden, and the BankArt Station + KAIKO, as well as Kanagawa’s Odawara Art Foundation Enoura Observatory. This marks the first step in Tokyo Gendai’s collaboration with the Japan Tourism Agency, to warmly welcome the global art community and support the development of cultural tourism in various regions of the country.