The Ishibashi Foundation was established by Shojiro Ishibashi, a leading Japanese industrialist who was also widely involved in cultural initiatives. The two pillars of its activities are the museum projects at the Bridgestone Museum of Art in Kyobashi, Tokyo (currently closed due to reconstruction of the building), and the donation and grant programs, which support artistic, cultural, and educational activities. In April 2012, the pubic benefit of these undertakings was officially recognized when the Foundation was accredited by the Prime Minister as a Public Interest Incorporated Foundation.
Founder Shojiro Ishibashi once summed up his philosophy with the words, "For the welfare and happiness of all mankind." Looking back on his achievements, two things stand out. The first is that he treated his business and cultural initiatives as if they were two sides of the same coin and strived to realize this philosophy through his cultural initiatives in particular. The second is that his initiatives were always ahead of their time. In business management, for example, as the Taisho period turned to the Showa period he revolutionized the mass footwear market by manufacturing jikatabi (split-toed heavy cloth work shoes with rubber soles) and rubber shoes, while from the pre-war through the late-Showa period he made a major contribution to the development of Japan's automobile society by pioneering the production of tires using solely Japanese technology. As for his cultural undertakings, he made various contributions towards creating a brighter future for Japan, such as establishing in 1952 Tokyo's first art museum specializing in modern Western-style painting, constructing in 1956 in Kurume – the birthplace of the Bridgestone Company – a cultural center housing a new art museum, constructing in the same year the Japanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale to promote international exchange through art, and constructing in 1969 in Kitanomaru Koen, Tokyo, a new building for the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.
The Ishibashi Foundation was established in 1956 in Tokyo to ensure the continuation of the founder's cultural endeavors. Today, more than fifty years later, we are striving to meet the demands of a new age while remaining committed to upholding the founder's determination to stay ahead of the times. With this in mind, in addition to our activities to date, we intend in the future to place a particular emphasis on activities aimed at promoting an understanding of the profundity of beauty and its background as well as international exchange through art.
President of the Board of Directors
The Ishibashi Foundation