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Tokyo museum sees visitor record on 1st day of NPM exhibit

TOKYO -- The opening of an unprecedented exhibition of imperial Chinese treasures from Taiwan's National Palace Museum (NPM) brought a record number of visitors to the Tokyo National Museum.

NPM Director Fung Ming-chu (馮明珠) said Wednesday that the number of visitors on the opening day had hit 8,086.

A day earlier, Masami Zeniya, executive director of the Tokyo National Museum, estimated the number at close to 6,000, enough to break the opening day attendance record for any exhibit at the museum.

Zeniya told CNA that unlike movies, which attract the largest audiences on their premieres, museum exhibitions tend to see visitors increase as time goes by, indicating attendance could go up over the coming weeks.

Large crowds queued once again outside of the museum Wednesday morning for the second day of the “Treasured Masterpieces from the National Palace Museum, Taipei,” which showcases precious works from the NPM, including its most popular piece, the Jadeite Cabbage with Insects.

170-minute Wait

A sign outside of the museum Wednesday morning showed that it was a 170-minute wait to get into the part of the venue showcasing the Jadeite Cabbage. But visitors felt it was worth the wait.

“I have seen it (the Jadeite Cabbage) in Taipei before, but it was a long time ago. I would like to see it one more time,” said a woman surnamed Yamanoi from Saitama, a prefecture that borders Tokyo.

A 34-year-old man surnamed Inaba said that his friend will be traveling from Ehime Prefecture on the island of Shikoku next week to see the exhibition with him, but he is coming first on his own because he just cannot wait.

In addition to the displays, a section selling NPM merchandise has also seen a flood of visitors.

Over 11,000 publications and pieces of NPM merchandise are on sale at the Tokyo exhibition, which NPM Director Fung Ming-chu estimates could generate revenues of up to NT$28 million (US$934,189).

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