Hirano Kotoken founder Ryoji Hirano (1910-1988) had started an independent antique shop in Osaka on 26th Feb, 1938, after having been educated for 7 years under Mr. Umekichi Asano(*1), a great expert in Chinese antique. Ryoji had acquired an invaluable knowledge and experience from Mr. Asano, and he had also traveled to China many times in 1930s. After independence, having supported by Hakuturu Museum, the Sumitomo family, Baron Fujita and private international collectors/museums, he went on to earn the respect and trust of the collectors, as well as of dealers and scholars.
One of Ryoji Hirano's major successful transactions is internationally famous Collection of Mr. Eiichi Ataka. Ryoji played a leading part in building a substantial collection of him. Mr. Ataka is a collector of famous Koryo/Choson Dynasty art in those days. Today, many works are stored at "The Museum of Oriental Ceramics", Osaka. The other distinguished transaction is Chinese art collection of Mr. Sazo Idemitsu of "Idemitsu Museum of Arts", Tokyo.In 1930c, Ryoji met Mr. Sazo Idemitsuwho is the founder of Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. Under the absolute trust of Mr. Idemitsu, he found out precious works from all over the world.This made "Idemitsu art museum" as the most superior art museum in that period.
In 1971, his eldest son Tatsuo Hirano had joined the company and had begun to go extensively abroad, to New York, London, Hong Kong especially. Business spread mainly on European well-known shop such as C.T.Loo, Bluett&Sons, John Sparks, Spink, Art fair such as The Grosvenor Fair.In addition, he purchased a superior work from a European and American collector including an auction company such as Sotheby's and Christie's. As a result, our clients got possible to build extensive collections from all over the world. Besides, going abroad made us possible to discuss an opinion with many overseas specialists, and now we always offer you the best advice from international perspectives.
On our 50th Anniversary in 1988, Hirano Kotoken Archive (Kotoken Senka) was published. 101 pieces of our most prestigious works are catalogued and preserved. Eldest son Ryoichi of Tatsuo has now taken over our family business as the third generation.
*1 Umekichi Asano (1877-1960) One of the famous antique dealer early 20th century.He sold the gilt bronze Buddha to the Metropolitan Museum, New York, in 1920.