Seikado was founded by Baron Yanosuke Iwasaki (1851-1908), the younger brother of Yataro Iwasaki, who was the second president of Mitsubishi, and expanded by Yanosuke's son, Baron Koyata Iwasaki (1879-1945), who became the fourth president of Mitsubishi. "Seikado" is the studio-name of Yanosuke Iwasaki.
Many Japanese lost sight of their cultural heritage in their headlong Westernization that followed the Meiji Restoration of the late 1860s. Yanosuke and his son Koyata collected books, artworks and other cultural treasures systematically to help safeguard that heritage.
In 1940, Baron Koyata established The Seikado Foundation and opened the Seikado Bunko Library containing 200,000 books donated from his personal collection (80,000 Japanese volumes and 120,000 Chinese volumes) to encourage the widespread use of the library. Baron Koyata also hoped to establish an art museum, but World War II intervened.
Koyata's dream was realized in 1992, in commemoration of hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Seikado collection a new museum was opened and activities in this area greatly expanded. Seikado houses their collection of 6,500 works of art in a museum. The museum displays its treasures to the public in a year-round program of exhibitions.
The Seikado Bunko Library contains 200,000 books donated from Yanosuke and Koyata Iwasaki's personal collection (80,000 Japanese volumes and 120,000 Chinese volumes) to encourage the widespread use of the library.