TOKYO 2020

New Japanese Exhibit Opens At Utah Museum Of Fine Arts

Jul 31, 2021, 5:26 PM | Updated: Feb 12, 2023, 5:58 pm

SALT LAKE CITYBefore Alex Cabrero left Utah with the KSL Olympic crew to come to Tokyo, he visited the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City where a brand new exhibit just happened to open around the same time the Games got going.

For those who may find museums boring, just show them a sword.

“Ask a kid of any age, swords are cool,” said Luke Kelly, curator at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

The craftsmanship, the precision, the beauty — even though we all know what swords were used for. 

“It is a great combination of technical and artistic skill that they are weapons of war, but yet, they’re also works of art,” said Kelly.

At the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, it’s the art that’s recognized.

A samurai sword is one of several pieces featured in a new exhibit, celebrating the art of Japan.

It’s not a coincidence the permanent exhibit opened just a couple of months before the Olympics in Tokyo, especially when lots of people might be interested in Japanese culture after seeing the sights broadcast during the Games.

“We wanted to build upon that excitement and for the audience to keep coming to the museum to see that there’s always something new,” said Kelly.

Kelly said the gallery was planned for last year before the Olympics, but like the Games, it was pushed back a year because of COVID-19.

The pieces include art, like prints to a metal fully articulated bird. And it’s hard to miss the samurai suit of armor, which shows the fine work of more than just one person.

“It is a metal worker, but he’s also working with a textile workers and a leather worker, to create a suit of armor that not only protects you from swords and guns, but it’s also very easy to wear,” said Kelly. “It’s only about 40 pounds compared to European armor, which could usually be a hundred or 200 pounds.”

And like the sword, it’s pretty cool.

“I very much love this art,” said Kelly.

You can also learn the art of print-making, or even create your own miniature Japanese screen art on certain days — just check with the museum if interested.

KSL Olympic Crew Is Out Of Quarantine

The KSL Olympic team has completed a 14-day quarantine in Tokyo, which now gives them the freedom to venture away from their hotel and workspace.

On Saturday, the five-person crew headed to Shibuya Crossing.

More of their stories from the Tokyo Olympics can be viewed at

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New Japanese Exhibit Opens At Utah Museum Of Fine Arts