Introduction of Artist
Asuka Kajiura is an Ise netsuke craftsman and the representative of 'link', a women's craftsmen's group in Tokai region. She is a former broadcaster at Tsu Broadcasting Station of NHK Nagoya. During her time at NHK, she managed the 'Techniques of the Tokai Region' segment, where she interviewed various craftsmen. She was impressed by the beauty of traditional crafts and the passion put into them, felt a sense of crisis at the potential loss of these crafts due to a lack of successors. This motivated her to become a craftsman herself.
Admiring the clever playfulness and intricate artistry of netsuke carving, and the craftsman's way of life characterized by lifelong activity and growth, Kajiura apprenticed under Tadamine Nakagawa in 2010 and became a netsuke craftsman. She had met Nakagawa, whom had been the president of the International Netsuke Carvers Association at the time, through the TV interviews. She has received several awards, including the Grand Prize at the 'DISCOVER THE ONE JAPANESE ART 2018 in LONDON' and others.
Netsuke is a small carving, usually 3 to 4 cm in size, used to hold things like wallets or pouches on a traditional Japanese kimono belt. The sculptures are small enough to hold in the palm of one's hand and are made with a playful and stylish spirit, with a sense of the four seasons, and a story of good fortune. Ise netsuke, in particular, flourished during the Edo period as souvenirs from visits to Ise, and many of the designs are characterized by good luck and wishes for people's happiness.
"Nare" is a netsuke terminology meaning the more a piece is used, the more it becomes candy-colored. This makes the netsuke worth more in value. We polish our netsuke so that the user will want to touch them.
The netsuke is a kind of amulet that is used by a grandfather and passed down to his grandchildren, and the thoughts and feelings of those who have used it are symbolized as "nare" and are passed on. I hope that netsuke will be an encouragement for anyone facing challenges or having hard times.
- Apprenticed under Mr. Tadamine Nakagawa, who was the president of the International Netsuke Sculpture Association at that time.
- Won the grand prix at the "Yukata Kirei Contest", a Japanese kimono beauty pageant, wearing netsuke.Formed the young craftsman group "Tokowaka" in Mie.
- Received the Excellence Award at the "Hida Takayama Netsuke Open Exhibition".
- Formed the "link" group of young female craftsmen from the Tokai area (Aichi, Gifu, and Mie).
- Received the Grand Prize at the "DISCOVER THE ONE JAPANESE ART 2018 in LONDON."Exhibited and sold at Mitsukoshi, Nihonbashi.Held a presentation at TEDxMieU.
- Exhibited at the Japan Foundation Contemporary, Wood Carving and Netsuke Overseas Touring Exhibition
- Collaborative exhibition with the "link" group at the Tokugawa Art Museum featuring national treasure, The Tale of Genji, illustrated scrolls.
- Invited artist for the Japan Foundation's touring exhibition “Contemporary Wood-Carved Netsuke” in Manila and Seoul.
- Received the Tetsuji Shibayama Prize at the 25th National Selection Exhibition of Japanese Art. NHKBS Premium New Year's Special "Ippin SP" featuring the female artisan group "link" .
- Group of the young famale craftsmen "link" received the special award of 1st Wabunka Grand Prix.