JFT Gallery

Contemporary Wood-Carved NETSUKE

Exhibition produced and presented by The Japan Foundation, Toronto

September 15 – December 16, 2023

Admission: FREE

Gallery Hours: Hourly timeslots starting at 11:30 AM, 12:30 PM, 1:30PM, 2:30 PM, 3:30 PM (4:30 PM and 5:30 PM on Thursdays)

Our gallery exhibition is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. We are closed on Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays.

We are also closed on select Saturdays: September 30-October 1 (weekend of National Day of Truth and Reconciliation), October 7-9 (Thanksgiving weekend), November 11-12 (Remembrance Day weekend)

Library & Gallery Opening Hours

Tuesday11:30am to 4:30pm
Thursday11:30am to 6:30pm
Friday11:30am to 4:30pm
Saturday11:30am to 4:30pm


Netsuke is a delicate and whimsical art form unique to Japan which fits on your palm intimately. In the 17th and 18th century Netsuke developed rapidly in the kimono fashion culture. For kimonos, which had no pockets, Netsuke acted as toggles providing daily-life convenience for carrying things such as pouches, medicine cases, and smoking pipe cases.

Since Japanese fashion had been westernized in the mid-19th century, Netsuke receded from practical use, but still attracted artistic interest not only within Japan but worldwide. In this exhibition, 65 contemporary pieces which are all wood-carved are on display. SAITŌ Bishū, a master Netsuke carver, describes the charm and attraction of Netsuke as “Freedom amidst constraints.” Netsuke are made under certain restrictions, such as needing two holes to run the cord through and requiring it to be round to avoid getting caught. The carvers express themselves as freely as possible under these constraints, which, in the end, magically stimulate the imaginations of both creators and viewers.

Due to the COVID-19 precautions, we are open in limited hourly slots, 4 days a week. Advanced, time-specific reservation is recommended. Hand-sanitization at the entry and wearing face-coverings on our premises are recommended.

Book your visit at eventbrite.ca