Construction of a new building
for the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

If the Ishibashi Museum of Art in the Ishibashi Cultural Center is a testament to Shojiro Ishibashi's achievements in art at the regional level, and the Japanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale a testament to his contributions at the international level, then his funding of the construction of a new building for the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, is a testament to his contributions at the national level.

National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo opened in Kyobashi, Tokyo in 1952, but the site was too small and before long it became necessary for it to move. A piece of state-owned land in Kitanomaru Daikan-cho on the perimeter of the Imperial Palace was deemed the most suitable new site. However, as the result of an earlier Cabinet decision, a policy had been adopted prohibiting the construction of any facilities on this site.
On learning of these circumstances, Shojiro Ishibashi, who was a trustee of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, offered to personally fund the construction of a new building if this policy was changed to allow construction on the Kitanomaru Daikan-cho site. Initially, because Cabinet decisions are deemed absolute, it was considered unlikely that this plan would come to fruition, but due partly to Shojiro's enthusiasm and the efforts of the then Minister of Justice (and second President of the Board of Directors of the Ishibashi Foundation), Mitsujiro Ishii, who was a friend of Shojiro's from elementary school days, the Cabinet decided in 1966 to approve the construction.
Construction of the new building, which was designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi, began in 1967 and lasted two years, with Shojiro gifting it to the country upon its completion in 1969.

In his lifetime, Shojiro built four art museums.
The Bridgestone Museum of Art, the Ishibashi Museum of Art, the Japanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. Although the backgrounds leading to their construction vary, each museum is an embodiment of Shojiro's desire to share his appreciation of art with many people.