BERLIN (DPA): Europe’s first Samurai Museum, which takes visitors on a journey in the history of the samurai through many historic artifacts, including heavy armors and sharp swords, has opened in Berlin.
The museum, which was launched at the start of May, showcases Japan’s renowned warriors with more than 1,000 pieces, from majestic armor and ornate swords to ceramics and paintings, and even includes a Japanese-style Noh theater, teahouse and calligraphy corner.
“I had no intention of building a collection at all,” says Peter Janssen, collector and founder of the Samurai Museum in Berlin, located just minutes from the city’s famous Museum Island, an area already home to some of Germany’s best-known galleries.
Janssen, who provided more than a thousand of the 4,000 objects in his collection to the exhibition, says the museum explores how “the samurai shaped Japan for 1,500 years.”
Many years ago, he befriended two Japanese people and then started learning karate and bought himself a samurai sword. After a few years, he bought his first suit of armor, and a little later a helmet and mask.
His collection grew over the years and soon he had the idea to make it all accessible to the general public in a museum.
Janssen says the museum, which is now among the world’s major samurai exhibition spaces alongside Kyoto’s Samurai & Ninja Museum, is not only about the samurai.
“With this exhibition, we want to try to bring Japanese culture a little closer to the visitors,” says Janssen. Another topic is, for example, Japan’s traditional Noh theater and the art of calligraphy.