Sister/friendship cities agreement was signed in 1979 between Beijing and Tokyo, in 1988 between Tokyo and Seoul, and in 1993 between Beijing and Seoul. In March 1995, the MOU on Beijing-Seoul-Tokyo (BESETO) Cooperation was signed by the three regions’ representatives, establishing the trilateral cooperation mechanism. However, the cooperation that took place afterwards centered on exchanges in the private sector such as arts and theater festivals rather than cooperation among the city governments.
The museum exchange program is an example of cooperation in the public sector. In 2002, the CJK International Symposium was held at the Seoul Museum of History, which also opened the same year. The symposium then became a regular event. In 2006, following a suggestion from the Chinese side, Shenyang Imperial Palace Museum joined, making the symposium a quadrilateral museum exchange held on a rotational basis. As a result of more than a decade-long continued exchange, there has been a steady increase in the number of bilateral exchange exhibitions among the museums in Beijing, Tokyo, and Seoul.
There are a few other examples of CJK museum exchange that occur in other triangles. For instance, Dalian (China), Kitakyushu (Japan) and Incheon (Korea) also host travelling exhibitions.
- October 2002: CJK Symposium Held in Seoul – Agreement made to be Held Regularly
The year 2002 marked the 30th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, the 10th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Korea, and the year Japan and Korea co-hosted the FIFA World Cup. Due to the convergence of these events, 2002 was designated as the CJK Citizens Exchange Year. On October 25, the first CJK International Symposium was held at the Seoul Museum of History. The Beijing Capital Museum and the Edo Tokyo Museum participated in the symposium.
The objective of the symposium was to introduce the history and culture of the three capitals under the theme of “the Role and the Direction of Development for Museums in the 21st Century”. It was the first attempt at conducting an exchange program among the directors and curators of the three museums. The symposium initially was not meant to be a regularly hosted event, but as the participants realized the value of continuous exchange/communication, the symposium became a regular event hosted on a rotational basis from the following year.
Past Events until 2006 :
- Since 2007: Shenyang Imperial Palace Museum Joined the Symposium, Becoming a Quadrilateral Exchange
- With the recommendation from the Beijing Capital Museum, the Shenyang Imperial Palace Museum became a member of the symposium in 2007, making it a quadrilateral exchange which continues to this today. The next forum is scheduled to be held at the Seoul Museum of History in 2022.
Events Since 2007 :
|2022 (19th)||Seoul [tentative]|
- November 2010: First CJK Special Exhibition Held at the Seoul Museum of History
- From November 4 to December 5, 2010, a special exhibition under the theme of “Seoul-Beijing-Tokyo, the Prototype and Preservation of the Three Capitals” was held at the Seoul Museum of History. On November 3 at the same venue, an international symposium was held, where city experts from the three capitals explored measures to preserve the prototype and the heritage of the cities.
- Poster from 2010 Exhibition (Source: Seoul Museum of History)
- 2013, 2015: Joint Special Exhibition by Beijing Capital Museum and Seoul Museum of History
- The Beijing Capital Museum and the Seoul Museum of History organized two joint special exhibitions each in 2013 and in 2015. In 2013, “3000 years of Beijing, Journey of Embracement and Inclusion” was held at the Seoul Museum of History, while “Waterway City, Seoul: the Changes of Cheonggyecheon” was held at the Beijing Capital Museum in 2015.
- 2017, 2018: Joint Special Exhibition by Beijing Capital Museum and Edo Tokyo Museum
The Beijing Capital Museum and the Edo Tokyo Museum have been conducting joint planning, exhibitions, research, and studies based on the cooperative relations established in 2002.
From February 18 to April 9, 2017, the special exhibition “Edo and Beijing – Life and the City in the 18th Century” was held at the Edo Tokyo Museum. In the following year, from August 14 to October 7, “City and Life – Beijing and Tokyo in the 18th Century” was held at the Beijing Capital Museum. The two special exhibitions both focused on comparing the formation, life, and culture of 18th century Beijing and Edo. Taking into account the preferences of the visitors, the Beijing Capital Museum exhibited more contents related to Japan, and vice versa.
- Exhibition in Tokyo (Source: Edo Tokyo Museum)
According to promotional material published by the Edo Tokyo Museum, the special exhibition was the first instance of exhibiting its collection in China. 278,790 guests visited the exhibition over a 50-day period (average 5,576 a day), and the media also gave widespread coverage. Moreover, the 17th CJK International Symposium was held during the special exhibition period, on August 15 at the Beijing Capital Museum.
- Exhibition in Beijing (Source: Edo Tokyo Museum)
- 2019: Joint Special Exhibition by Edo Tokyo Museum and Seoul Museum of History
- The Edo Tokyo Museum held the first joint special exhibition with the Seoul Museum of History themed “Yu Manju’s Hanyang” from October 22 to December 1, 2019. Born in Hanyang (current-day Seoul) in 1755, Yu Manju started writing a diary when he turned 20 in 1775 and continued to do so every single day until his death in 1788. His diaries help us look into the everyday life of the people and the landscape in the 18th century Hanyang. The Seoul Museum of History held this exhibition in 2017. Furthermore, the 18th CJK International Symposium was held on the first day of the joint special exhibition under the theme of “Museum and Function of Cites”.
- Joint Special Exhibition in Tokyo (Source: Edo Tokyo Museum)
- 2022 [tentative]: International Exchange Exhibition by Edo Tokyo Museum and Seoul Museum of History
- From September to October 2022, the Seoul Museum of History is planning to hold a visiting exhibition with the theme of “Cityscape of the Sumida River in the Edo Period”. The exhibition is planned to introduce modern Japanese urban customs and lifestyle through relics such as paintings and maps set against the Sumida River, which is closely related to the urban development of Tokyo. Meanwhile, the three museums are in close consultation to hold the 19th CJK Symposium virtually from September 4 to 7 with the theme of "The Urban Museum and Future Strategy."