Rock Hall to open temporary exhibit in Japan on Sept. 23

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is just weeks away from establishing its presence in the second biggest music market in the world.

The Rock Hall will open a temporary exhibit in Tokyo on Sept. 23. The exhibit will serve as a precursor for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Japan museum, set to open in spring 2020, just in time for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“We are incredibly excited,” says Rock Hall CEO and president Greg Harris, who will be on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 23. “In the swing of this whole year, we’ve redesigned a huge chunk of the museum, we’ve had 50 days of music on our plaza, opened a new dining experience and held a record number of events in the museum. Now we’re going to Tokyo.”

Harris and his team first announced plans for the Tokyo museum in June. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Japan will function through a licensing agreement between the Rock Hall and an unnamed group of Japanese collaborators.

The Japanese group, which has previously licensed the Induction Ceremony for broadcast in the country, will fund the $24 million construction of the museum. The Rock Hall in Cleveland will maintain creative control of the spinoff in Japan, sending traveling exhibits and creating permanent ones for viewing.

Japan represents the second biggest music market in the world behind the United States, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s annual report.

The Rock Hall doesn’t release specific numbers on annual visitors from other countries. But Harris says the second-most popular language for the museum’s printed brochures is Japanese.

The temporary exhibit will set up shop in a mixed retail space in central Tokyo where other world-renowned museums, such as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, have created temporary showcases.

The exhibit will be a media-driven display focused on the power and impact of those inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Harris says the Cleveland museum’s curatorial staff has worked with the Japanese team to provide artifacts and induction footage from several standout artists.

“The exhibit looks at what is the single greatest honor in music,” Harris proclaims. “Other awards are for a song or an album. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame celebrates an entire career.”

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Japan marks the second time the Cleveland-based museum has attempted a spinoff. The organization opened a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex in New York City in 2009, which closed just a year later.

The Rock Hall has also become known for its traveling exhibits, which include “Louder Than Words: Rock, Power & Politics,” “Paul Simon: Words and Music,” “Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits” and “Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience.” Those exhibits have traveled to museums and cultural centers in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and other cities.

However, the Japanese project and its future $24 million home represent one of the Rock Hall’s biggest undertakings ever. Harris says the temporary exhibit will move to another location in Tokyo next spring, where it will remain until the permanent space opens in 2020.


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