Shinkichi Hara

Photograpy of Shinkichi Hara, Hamburg, early 20th century.
Courtesy of Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

A highlight of the MKG collection are the tsuba. For Brinckmann, it was clear that he would not be able to correctly date and classify the small treasures. Therefore, he sought help from Shinkichi Hara. Hara had come to Germany to study medicine. But his career took a different turn. Thanks to his eminent expertise in Japan´s cultural history, he soon became an indispensable advisor to many German museums. From 1896, he worked at the MKG as curator of everything Japanese.
In classifying the tsuba, Brinckmann and Hara took different approaches. Brinckmann saw a Darwinian-evolutionary tendency at work, a progression from simple to complex forms. Hara found this nonsensical and argued for a classification according to schools and lines of tradition.