Exhibition at the Embassy of Japan for Asian Art in London

Exploring the Man-nen Dokei:
Western timekeeping and the Japanese flow of time

29 October – 1 December 2014

Open weekdays 09:30 - 17:30, closed weekends
Admission is free, but photo ID is necessary to gain entry to the Embassy.

The Embassy of Japan, 101-104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT

The current exhibition at the Embassy of Japan is a glimpse into the world of the late Edo period (1603 – 1868) and a time when the market for new technologies was flourishing and a variety of technological instruments for use in everyday life were in great demand.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is a full-size replica of the Ten Thousand-Year Clock or Man-nen dokei, a masterpiece of Japanese clock-making, with the original having been made in 1851. The clock has six faces, each showing a different way of measuring time, all of which are controlled by a central mechanism. It includes a so-called Japanese clock, wa-dokei, which expresses time in units of differing lengths as the seasons change throughout the year. If you come to the Embassy, you could be lucky enough to hear one of the twelve daily chimes.

Enamel decoration details

The Ten Thousand-Year Clock (Man-nen dokei)



Not only is the Man-nen dokei a tour de force of innovative engineering, it is also a marvel of Japanese artistry. Master craftsmen have fashioned a clock of the highest quality with elaborately decorated workmanship in wood, metal, lacquer with gold and mother-of-pearl inlays and enamel.

Further highlights include an early pedometer, kaleidoscope, ‘everlasting’ lamp and a working replica of an Edo-period mechanised tea-carrying doll or automaton (karakuri-ningyo).

The exhibition is organised by the Embassy of Japan with the Toshiba International Foundation in cooperation with the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo and the Toshiba Corporation and is a part of Asian Art in London.

Embassy of Japan
Asian Art in London
National Museum of Nature and Science