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NPM exhibit welcomes its 300,000 visitor with warmth

TOKYO -- An exhibition of treasures from Taiwan's National Palace Museum (NPM, 國立故宮博物院) in Tokyo on Wednesday welcomed its 300,000th visitor — 12-year-old Japanese girl Rikako Kishi.

Masami Zeniya, executive director of the Tokyo National Museum, gave Kishi an illustrated handbook of the exhibition, as well as Hello Kitty-adorned products jointly developed by the NPM and Japanese company Sanrio Co.

Kishi's mother Junko Kishi said she and her daughter were visiting the Tokyo National Museum for the first time and were delighted by the surprise.

The mom said she had visited the NPM 20 years ago during a trip to Taiwan but felt it was worth coming to the exhibition again.

The “Treasured Masterpieces from the National Palace Museum, Taipei” exhibition opened June 24 at the Tokyo museum, showcasing precious works from the NPM, including ancient books, calligraphy writings, paintings, and pieces of embroidery, ceramic, bronze and jade.

Despite attaining the attendance milestone, the exhibition will likely fall short of the lofty estimate of 1 million visitors predicted for the show before it began on June 24, considering its run in Tokyo only has about three weeks left.

The exhibition drew an average of over 10,000 visitors per day during the first two weeks, when the NPM's most popular artifact, the Jadeite Cabbage with Insects, was on display there.

But since July 7, the Jadeite Cabbage's last day on display before it returned to Taiwan, attendance has fallen to about 3,000 per day, bringing the total to 300,000 visitors.

The all-time attendance record for any single event at the museum is 1.5 million set in 1974 for the Mona Lisa exhibition.

The NPM exhibition will run until Sept. 15 at the Tokyo museum and then move to the Kyushu National Museum from Oct. 7 to Nov. 30.

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