Construction of the Japanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Shojiro Ishibashi also left behind achievements in the area of international exchange through art.
At the Venice Biennale, which has been held every two years since 1895, the countries of the world exhibit work by representative artists in their own countries' pavilions in a kind of competition to see whose art has the greatest appeal. Japan began attending officially in 1952, and although it had been urged to construct a permanent pavilion on land provided by the Italians, it was unable to comply due to financial difficulties. The land that was allocated was the final site suitable for a pavilion. The Italian government notified Japan that unless it intended to construct a pavilion by the time of the 28th Venice Biennale in 1956, the site would be allocated to another country, in which case a Japanese Pavilion would likely never become a reality.

Shojiro Ishibashi at the Venice Biennale
Shojiro Ishibashi at the Venice Biennale

Shojiro Ishibashi, who had been consulted, decided to support the funding of the construction, and the construction of the Japanese Pavilion finally began in 1955.

Designed by Takamasa Yoshizaka, the Japanese Pavilion was completed in 1956. With its solemn, imposing appearance, the pavilion became a major talking point of the 28th Venice Biennale, held the same year. Shojiro, who travelled to Venice to attend the opening ceremony for the pavilion, commented, "The opening was attended by a crowd of some 500 dignitaries and newspaper reporters from different countries, and the Japanese Pavilion was given a favorable reception and reported around the world, making it a great day for Japanese culture."

The Japanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
The Japanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale