The Chihiro Art Museum Tokyo (formerly Chihiro Iwasaki Art Museum of Picture Books) was established in 1977 to commemorate Chihiro Iwasaki (1918-1974), a Japanese artist renowned for her charming paintings and illustrations of flowers and children, which appeared widely not only in picture books, but also in illustrated magazines, textbooks, novels, calendars, and elsewhere beginning in the late 1950s. The Museum, financed through donations and royalties from Chihiro's artwork, was built on the site where Chihiro lived and worked from 1952 until her death in 1974.
In the late '80s, the Museum began to expand the scope of its collection to include original artwork from significant children's book artists throughout the world, greatly enriching its various exhibitions and programs. In 1997, the Chihiro Art Museum Azumino opened its doors in Nagano Prefecture. In addition to displays of artwork by Chihiro Iwasaki, regular exhibits include selections from the International Collection and a display focusing on the history of picture book illustrations. Both the Chihiro Art Museum in Tokyo and Azumino are operated by the Chihiro Iwasaki Memorial Foundation, which was established with the aims of commemorating Chihiro Iwasaki's achievements, inheriting Chihiro's sincere wish for peace for children of the world, and contributing to the liberal and versatile cultural development of children.