I have always found advertising a very interesting thing. What makes it so interesting is the fact that an advert can tell us a lot about a society in an unique and creative way. If you are a lover of history or are engrossed in power of the media and society as a whole, then you definitely need to put this museum on your list of places to visit.
This museum offers a ‘window into society and people’ through its vast collection and archive of adverts. It was originally opened by the Yoshida Hideo Memorial Foundation to commemorate Yoshida Hideo, the fourth President of Dentsu Inc. The layout of the museum itself although minimal, is spacious, thus making it easy for visitors to navigate their way around.
There are two exhibitions, a permanent and a temporary one. The permanent exhibition starts with the Edo period where the history of advertising begins in Japan. Great detail is given about why advertising became so prominent in this period, with an array of historical documents and records also on display. Visitors are then shown the dramatic change between advertising styles and techniques from the Edo period to the Meiji period. It is interesting to observe the Western influence on not only the adverts themselves but Japanese society as a whole.
Currently, the museum is holding a temporary exhibition called the ‘Tokyo Copywriters Club’. It showcases some of the Japanese adverts which have won various awards throughout the years. My personal favourite advert in the museum was in this exhibition. If you get the chance to, watch the Cup Noodle adverts. The Cup Noodle adverts displayed in this exhibition were animated adverts and looked like something you would see out of an anime. My personal favourite was one that they showed teenage versions of the characters from the Studio Ghibli film Kiki’s Delivery Service. Personally, it felt very nostalgic for me. What I learned from visiting this museum is how much of an emotional attachment you can have to an advert. They represent for many a certain time, place and show societal values.
If you are studying media, marketing or advertising, it is also worth visiting as there is a library on the first floor of the museum. It is not only rammed packed with an array of books in English and Japanese about creative thinking and the history of advertising but has workspaces available so it is a perfect place to study.
What also makes this museum really good is that it is free. Therefore, it is a great for students or travellers who are on a budget. You can easily spend an hour or even longer just looking through all the adverts. On top of this museum offers an interactive experience to its visitors. Visitors can sit and scroll through and watch the 100s of historical adverts on the digital tables or take a more traditional approach and turn the pages of the books on the analog tables.
Remember, if you are visiting the Ad Museum to get your hands on the exclusive stamp they have to offer. All you have to do is go to the front desk and pick up a plain postcard and collect the different parts to the stamp throughout the museum. It is a really nice and unique souvenir and the best part is, it is free as well.
The nearest train station to the Tokyo Advertising Museum is Shimbashi Station, the museum itself is located inside Caretta Shiodome.
Address: 〒105-0021 Tokyo, 港区Higashishinbashi, 1−8-2 カレッタ汐留