A new fair to support the Tokyo market

[11 Jul 2023]


Tokyo Gendai, a new art market rendez-vous!

The first international art fair in Tokyo Bay for over 30 years!

From 7 to 9 July 2023, the Pacifico Yokohama will host 74 leading galleries from Japan, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the United States. Among the participants at this first edition, a number of prestigious international galleries including Almine Rech (Paris, Brussels, London, New York, Shanghai), Blum & Poe (Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo) and Ceysson & Bénétière (New York, Koerich, Paris, Lyon , Geneva, Saint-Étienne, Pouzilhac).

Tokyo Gendai will host a main section plus three other sections: HANA (tr. flower) dedicated to artists in their early to mid-career, EDA (tr. branch) for established artists in Asia and certain thematic exhibitions, and TANE (tr. seed) for digital art. The program also includes performances, installations and satellite exhibitions at renowned local institutions including the Mori Art Museum and The National Art Center in Tokyo. Artist Ryuichi OHIRA will be presenting a large-scale installation, created exclusively for Tokyo Gendai. The fair also offers a special exhibition entitled Life Actually: The Work of Contemporary Japanese Women Artists, bringing together works by major Japanese women artists including Leiko IKEMURA, Kunié SUGIURA and Yurie NAGASHIMA. The NE (tr. root) section will showcase the work, initiatives and/or collections of several prominent Japanese foundations including the Fukutake Foundation, the Odawara Art Foundation and the Taguchi Art Collection. An extensive talks program has also been scheduled in order to foster exchanges on contemporary culture in Japan and beyond, addressing key trends, issues and developments in today’s art world.

The creator of this event is none other than The Art Assembly, which already organizes several major international art fairs in the Asia-Pacific region, including Taipei Dangdai, the India Art Fair and the new ART SG.

The press release accompanying this latest addition to The Art Assembly’s art fair portfolio makes much of Tokyo Gendai’s “bonded status” since Tokyo Gendai is the very first international art fair in Japan to be granted “bonded status” for the duration of the event. This means that, following a customs regulation introduced in 2020 and 2021, a free zone authorization will exempt foreign galleries from the 10% customs and pre-sale tax which they would otherwise have to pay on each artwork before any potential sale. This offers an unprecedented tax advantage, significantly improving accessibility to the Japanese art market for international gallery owners. According to Magnus Renfrew, co-founder of Tokyo Gendai: “This announcement will help Tokyo Gendai over the next few years to open its doors to international exhibitors and demonstrates Japan’s commitment to deepening its engagement with the global art world and further developing its local art market”. The fair’s director, Eri Takane added: “When we started working on creating this fair, we had not anticipated another element in favor of foreign galleries: the yen’s current historic weakness”.

A veritable platform promoting commercial, artistic and intellectual exchanges, Tokyo Gendai aims to become the cultural rendezvous in the Japanese artistic calendar. It has been more than 30 years since Japan hosted an international art fair, so expectations for this new event are high. The dynamism and wealth of Tokyo’s art scene should attract a large number of international visitors, thereby strengthening its position in the international art world.

Tokyo, a booming marketplace

In 2000, Japan was virtually absent from the global art market. However, in just 20 years, the Japanese capital has established itself as one of the major players in the Asian market and has found itself propelled onto the international scene, notably thanks to the activity of ‘first generation’ galleries like Taka Ishii, Mizuma Gallery and Tomio Koyama, but also thanks to Takashi MURAKAMI who ignited the Tokyo art scene with his KaiKai Kiki gallery. In addition to these Japanese galleries, Tokyo has attracted leading international players (including Blum & Poe and Perrotin), but it still lacked the effervescence that a major art fair can contribute to the development of a thriving domestic and international market. The launch of Tokyo Gendai this year reflects a clear desire to eliminate that handicap.

Japan’s art market vitality has also been reflected in the auction sphere: after reaching a new turnover peak in post-covid 2021, it posted a new record of $183 million in 2022, and the results for H1 2023 have also been buoyant.


Year Sales product
Lots sold
2000 $542,380 13 159,800
2001 $903,433 121 65,520
2002 $22,481 17 2,576
2003 $1,299,130 37 298,900
2004 $3,513,506 43 1,225,800
2006 $11,184,761 901 1,391,900
2007 $46,438,310 1640 3,456,600
2008 $82,220,499 4800 1,769,000
2009 $58,858,461 5582 1,775,250
2010 $86,713,665 10775 1,728,000
2011 $74,329,847 10717 571,650
2012 $88,432,125 10464 1,572,395
2013 $61,065,172 9771 1,754,256
2014 $67,864,189 10190 998,460
2015 $71,370,545 12124 2,104,393
2016 $107,872,537 13907 1,174,202
2017 $93,541,197 13118 967,376
2018 $122,376,173 14043 10,116,533
2019 $110,644,516 14559 1,265,829
2020 $95,366,356 12607 1,443,273
2021 $167,464,386 13787 4,289,920
2022 $183,038,565 12978 20,859,597
S1 2023 $73,711,267 6262 2,028,047
Fine art auction turnover in Tokyo (2000 – H1 2003) © artprice.com

Of the TOP 50 best Fine Art auction results in Tokyo since the year 2000, more than 50% are very recent (i.e. hammered during the last three years). Among the most valued artists, Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and Yayoi Kusama occupy the top three places with Auguste RENOIR, Kazuo SHIRAGA and Yoshitomo NARA not far behind. Japanese buyers are therefore very receptive to Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Western and Japanese signatures. Although clearly interested in art that sells on the international art market, Japanese collectors also support their domestic market via Modern artists like Tsuguharu FOUJITA and Ryusei KISHIDA and international Contemporaries like Kusama, Nara and Ayako ROKKAKU.


 Rank Artist Artwork Hammer Price
Date Sale
1 Andy WARHOL Silver Liz(Ferus Type) (1963) $20,859,597 30/03/22 Shinwa Auction Co, Ltd Tokyo
2 Pablo PICASSO Tête de femme en pleurs (1939) $10,116,533 02/06/18 iART Co., LTD. Tokyo
3 Yayoi KUSAMA Pumpkin (1981) $4,289,920 31/07/21 Mainichi Auction Inc. Tokyo
4 Pablo PICASSO Man holding a Flag (1969) $3,456,600 25/05/07 New Art Est-Ouest Auctions Co. Tokyo
5 Tsuguharu FOUJITA Petites filles avec la veste de l’artiste (1958) $2,695,432 10/07/21 iART Co., LTD. Tokyo
6 Yayoi KUSAMA Pumpkin (1991) $2,611,999 01/10/21 New Art Est-Ouest Auctions Co. Tokyo
7 Pierre-Auguste RENOIR Deux sirenes (1916) $2,204,077 20/01/18 Mainichi Auction Inc. Tokyo
8 Claude MONET Dahlias (1883) $2,157,100 07/12/89 Ader-Picard-Tajan Tokyo
9 Pierre-Auguste RENOIR Gabrielle reprisant (1908) $2,104,393 04/07/15 Mainichi Auction Inc. Tokyo
10 Yayoi KUSAMA Flowers That Bloom Tomorrow (M) (2010) $2,042,116 01/10/21 New Art Est-Ouest Auctions Co. Tokyo
11 Pierre-Auguste RENOIR Après le Bain (c.1901) $2,028,047 29/04/23 iART Co., LTD. Tokyo
12 Yoshitomo NARA Flowers (2014) $1,886,694 01/10/21 New Art Est-Ouest Auctions Co. Tokyo
13 Andy WARHOL Ladies and Gentlemen (1975) $1,802,652 30/11/89 New Art Est-Ouest Auctions Co. Tokyo
14  Yayoi KUSAMA  Infinity-Nets Towpp (2008)  $1,800,034  24/09/22  Shinwa Art Auction Tokyo
15 Ryusei KISHIDA Still Life (1919) $1,775,250 21/03/09 New Art Est-Ouest Auctions Co. Tokyo
16 Camille PISSARRO Le pré avec cheval gris, Eragny (1893) $1,769,000 04/04/08 Mainichi Auction Inc. Tokyo
17 Andy WARHOL Marilyn Monroe (MARILYN) (1967) $1,751,308 21/04/18 Shinwa Art Auction Tokyo
18 Pierre-Auguste RENOIR Jeune femme couchée en robe rose (c.1890) $1,728,000 24/07/10 Binoche-Godeau Tokyo
19 Andy WARHOL Ladies and Gentlemen (1975) $1,724,276 30/11/89 Shinwa Art Auction Tokyo
20 Pablo PICASSO Le peintre et son modèle $1,696,500 15/09/07 New Art Est-Ouest Auctions Co. Tokyo
21  Yayoi KUSAMA Pumpkin (S) (2016) $1,679,464 01/10/21 SBI Art Auction Co, Ltd Tokyo
22  Yayoi KUSAMA INFINITY-NETS WHXOTLO (2006) $1,572,395 25/02/12 Mainichi Auction Inc. Tokyo
23 Pablo PICASSO Bouteille et compotier (1922) $1,525,214 22/05/21 SBI Art Auction Co, Ltd Tokyo
24 Kazuo SHIRAGA Yougen (2003) $1,507,995 24/01/15 Mainichi Auction Inc. Tokyo
25 Pierre-Auguste RENOIR Nu couché ou La boulangère (1902) $1,500,376 29/10/22 New Art Est-Ouest Auctions Co. Tokyo
26 Kazuo SHIRAGA Onkurodanau Unjaku (1994) $1,472,234 01/10/21 New Art Est-Ouest Auctions Co. Tokyo
27  Yayoi KUSAMA Infinity Nets Until The Far Reaches Of Heaven (1989) $1,472,234 01/10/21 iART Co., LTD. Tokyo
28  Seiki KURODA  The forest in the evening (1910) $1,443,273 04/07/20  Shinwa Art Auction Tokyo
29 Kaii HIGASHIYAMA Cathedral in the Morning (1971) $1,408,400 22/03/08 Shinwa Art Auction Tokyo
30 Andy WARHOL Mickey Mouse (1981) $1,391,900 20/05/06 Shinwa Auction Co, Ltd Tokyo
31 Matazo KAYAMA Sea of clouds of Huangshan (1995) $1,390,786 27/05/23 Shinwa Auction Co, Ltd Tokyo
32 Matazo KAYAMA Flower $1,381,039 24/03/18 SBI Art Auction Co, Ltd Tokyo
33  Yayoi KUSAMA Infinity Nets (2000) $1,373,652 12/03/22 iART Co., LTD. Tokyo
34 Paul CÉZANNE Sous-Bois $1,370,615 18/02/23 SBI Art Auction Co, Ltd Tokyo, Chūō-ku
35  Yayoi KUSAMA Butterfly [TWWEN] (2006) $1,347,259 29/01/22 SBI Art Auction Co, Ltd Tokyo
36 Ayako ROKKAKU Untitled (2017) $1,328,112 16/07/22 Shinwa Auction Co, Ltd Tokyo
37 Takeo YAMAGUCHI Five Lines (1954) $1,323,617 30/03/22 SBI Art Auction Co, Ltd Tokyo
38  Yayoi KUSAMA Flowers (2006) $1,310,367 30/10/21 SBI Art Auction Co, Ltd Tokyo
39 Takashi MURAKAMI Dazzling Circus: Embrace Peace and Darkness within Thy Heart (2013) $1,283,256 27/10/18 SBI Art Auction Co, Ltd Tokyo
40  Yayoi KUSAMA Pumpkin (B.H.T) (1991) $1,280,640 11/03/23 SBI Art Auction Co, Ltd Tokyo
41  Yayoi KUSAMA \Pumpkin\” (1990)” $1,265,829 30/11/19 Mainichi Auction Inc. Tokyo
42  Tsuguharu FOUJITA  Petit cavalier (1955) $1,227,215  07/12/89  Ader-Picard-Tajan Tokyo
43 Henri MATISSE Le bouquet de rose (1920) $1,225,800 18/09/04 Mainichi Auction Inc. Tokyo
44 Émile GALLÉ Dragonfly Coupe $1,220,000 08/03/08 New Art Est-Ouest Auctions Co. Tokyo
45 George CONDO Little Ricky (2004) $1,217,160 06/11/21 New Auction Tokyo Jingumae
46 Ryusei KISHIDA Girl sitting like a statue $1,193,656 15/09/18 Shinwa Auction Co, Ltd Tokyo
47 Atsuko TANAKA \83G\” (1983)” $1,174,202 16/04/16 Shinwa Art Auction Tokyo
48 Henri MATISSE Sur la chaise longue (1920) $1,171,320 18/09/04 Mainichi Auction Inc. Tokyo
49  Yayoi KUSAMA Grapes (1989) $1,151,000 28/01/23 SBI Art Auction Co, Ltd Tokyo, Chūō-ku
50 Yoshitomo NARA Drumming with bones (2000) $1,099,846 19/02/22 iART Co., LTD. Tokyo
Top 50 Fine Art auction results in Japan © artprice.com

In short, the Japanese capital wants to consolidate its position on the international art market and the launch of this new fair aims to do just that. Although still relatively small in global terms, Japan’s art market has a fast-growing volume of auction transactions, and in a booming market that should not be overlooked. Indeed, considering the country’s wealth and the quality of its artistic scene, it now looks perfectly positioned for prosperous future development.