Ippodo Gallery Ginza

2019.9/12(Thu)~9/21(Sat)11:00~19:00 Closed on Mondays

Bamboo craft is on the rise of attention from all over the world.  

Abbey Collection: Japanese Bamboo has introduced the freeform and diverse compositions of Bamboo art starting from the Metropolitan Museum, Ōita, Tokyo National Modern Museum then Osaka-Toyo-Toji Museum.

  Beautiful bamboos grow throughout in Japan. The straight and green bamboos have always resided with Japanese life scenes. Since the ancient era, the crafts of bamboo have been used as various tools in everyday life, refining its beauty as fine craft art.

At Ippodo Gallery Ginza, we would like to introduce Hafu Matsumoto and Toshie Oki, successful in formalizing their master, Iizuka Shōkansai’s technique. Hafu Matsumoto has also collaborated with the renowned Spanish fashion brand, LOEWE, by weaving together their leather products with his bamboo practice, which received a great reception.




A Delicate Bloom: The Intricate Beauty of Shinya Yamamura’s Lacquerware

Shinya Yamamura, a modern lacquer artist, uses traditional materials and techniques in his work.

The ornate intricacy of his pieces, from Chaire – traditional tea containers to incense containers, show Yamamura’s craftsmanship, planning, and careful consideration. A single lacquer box takes up to 8 months to complete.

Yamamura starts by planning the shape and decoration of the work and once complete, he creates a maquette out of clay or styrene.


Afterwards, he creates the piece based off this maquette.

​The body is usually made of a Japanese cypress and the decorative qualities made by using Urushi lacquer – a natural varnish unique to East Asia.

Once the form is completed, Yamamura carefully starts the decorative process. The surface of the object is first prepared with multiple coats of thickened Urushi lacquer.

​This is polished to create a deliciously smooth, yet strong, surface


The Urushi lacquer is then used to adhere a variety of materials such as other colored lacquers, metals such as gold and silver, handmade paper, shells, mother of pearl, ivory, etc.. ​

Rich combinations varying from piece to piece, produces artwork that tell a story of their beautiful creation. Like jewels, these pieces undoubtedly omit a precious energy.










Shinya Yamamura likes to say, “I would like my work to have a place in people’s lives, like a flower growing from the side of the road that is picked and taken home.”

Yamamura’s artworks are most certainly like that of a delicate and innocent flower.

Shiro Tsujimura: The Familiar Warmth of Stoneware

Self taught and self made, Shiro Tsujimura’s pottery delivers a sense of freshness and serenity to the viewer. Shiro resides and works in a home built by him and his wife in 1970 in Mima, Nara.

The air is crisp, the paths are green, and as they grow their own vegetables, fish locally, and work freely, Shiro and his wife, Mieko, occasionally welcome guests to their home by cooking a warm meal.

Both in work and lifestyle, Shiro Tsujimura delivers a largeness of spirit. There is a delicate balance between Shiro’s Igaware – a challenging style of Japanese pottery which demands masterful manipulation during firing- and food being served.

As Mieko carefully prepares the dishes, she considers the bowls, vessels, and teacups that will be used. She serves Oden, a simple Japanese vegetable based soup in a stoneware bowl made by her husband as he prepares beef through charcoal grilling. Using the same charcoal that is used to fire the kiln, Shiro’s art and life blends together in an absolutely serene way.

Shiro once said “If asked what I hope to create in my own work, the only answer I could possibly give would be that particular condition of the human heart.”

​Shiro’s pottery represents both a mastery of ceramics and of life; the warmth delivered through each piece is undeniable and truly is the uniqueness of ceramics itself.

Artist Spotlight: Kohei Nakamura

Born in 1948 in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa, Kohei Nakamura is part of a family of renowned ceramic artists in Kanazawa.

Kohei Nakamura has been featured in many public collections; from The National Museum of Art in Kyoto to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

Nakamura became sensational in the contemporary art world in the 1990s through his extravagant and ornate ceramic sculptures.

Upon return to Japan, Nakamura’s visual language changed from a highly decorative subject matter to one that is subtle, timeless, and classic.


Nakamura’s teabowls are exquisite Korai, Raku, and Ido styles. Nakamura’s featured tea bowl is a contemporary Ido. Ido, the first of three types of Japanese tea ceremony bowls, is the highest grade of tea bowls.

With a beautiful contrast between the clay body and glazes, Kohei Nakamura’s tea bowls display a unique, yet graceful, elegance.


Essay by Glenn Adamson- A Bowl of Heaven

A Bowl of Heaven

Glenn Adamson Senior Scholar, Yale Center for British Art


It took Shin Fujihira more than forty years to make a teabowl. Not that he was working on it the whole time – in fact, he purposefully avoided this most iconic of Japanese ceramic forms, feeling that the refined cult of tea ceremony (Chanoyu) was a “wicked world,” artificial and restrictive.

He felt this way despite his family lineage, which placed him the ceramic elite of Kyoto, a city famous for its ornately decorated and refined wares. No less a personage than Kanjiro Kawai helped foster his talent, even bequeathing him his given name, Shin. And yet he rebelled, becoming an unorthodox and individualistic talent.

In Japan, of course, unorthodoxy is its own tradition. The ideal of the Chinese literati, who withdrew from court intrigue to concentrate on their own artistic visions, was adopted by such figures as Matsuo Bashō, the Edo period poet, who is considered by many to have been the greatest composer of haiku. For example:

A snowy morning—
by myself,
chewing on dried salmon.

When Fujihira did finally decide it was time to create teabowls, he achieved just this sort of elliptical, compressed style. Handbuilt rather than thrown on the wheel, each is as eccentric as the artist himself, no one contour the same as any other.

The one I have before me has a cinnabar glaze, a pink-suffused celadon somewhat reminiscent of Chinese Song Dynasty jun wares. It is made of earthen materials, and its lip travels round it irregularly, like a mountain path. Yet it also contains a cloud, a gorgeous gray smudge that runs through the glaze: a portion of heaven. Bearing the bowl’s light weight in the hands is pure, giddy pleasure; I can imagine it lifting of its own accord, rising to up the sky.

I can also imagine it filled with green froth. Fujihira may not have admired the rigorous conventions of chanoyu, but then, those conventions have themselves shifted in recent years. It’s easy to imagine a contemporary tea-lover falling in love with this bowl.

For me, nothing he ever made was more poignant than this bowl. It’s at once unpretentious and transcendent, like snow and salmon and everything else under the sheltering sky.

A Great Success! An Art of Imperfection: The Beauty of Japanese Ceramics panel at Japan House LA

Yesterday’s panel with artist Izumita Yukiya prompted a profound discussion with unique perspectives and was energized by an amazing audience full of enthusiasm for Japanese ceramics and culture. Thank you to everyone who attended and to panelists Gordon Brodfuehrer, Hollis Goodall, Yukiya Izumita, and our Ippodo NY gallery director, Shoko Aono.

If in LA, Be sure not to miss @japanhousela’s current exhibition, ‘Keshiki’ The Landscape Within: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics from the Brodfuehrer Collection, guest curated by @hollisgoodall, Curator of Japanese Art at LACMA.


Register today! Free panel and workshop at JAPAN HOUSE, LA featuring Yukiya Izumita

YUKIYA IZUMITA: Panel Discussion & Workshop

Hollywood & Highland Center
6801 Hollywood Boulevard, 2F and 5F
Los Angeles, CA 90028


An Art of Imperfection | The Beauty of Japanese Ceramics

JAPAN HOUSE welcomes four distinguished speakers to discuss the unique and alluring aspects of Japanese ceramics: collector Gordon Brodfueher, ceramic artist Yukiya Izumita, gallerist Shoko Aono (Ippodo Gallery), and Hollis Goodall, Curator of Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Date: May 23rd, Thursday
Time: 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: JAPAN HOUSE Salon (Level 5)
Fee: Complimentary


Ceramic Artist Yukiya Izumita Master Class

For his class at JAPAN HOUSE, Izumita will incorporate local clay and soil to produce a ceramic that is truly native to Los Angeles. In just one and a half hours, participants will witness the planning and creation of a vessel, with narration and explanation throughout, including his innovative use of traditional tools and techniques.

This master class is open to all, from professional ceramicists to amateurs or fans. After the class Izumita will donate the piece to JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, where it will be displayed throughout the end of the exhibition period.

Date: May 25th, Saturday
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Location: JAPAN HOUSE Salon (Level 5)
Fee: Complimentary

“The Heart of the Matter” An Essay by Elizabeth Essner on Shin Fujihira’s cinnabar water dropper

In honor of the upcoming exhibition at Ippodo Gallery NY, “Ethereal Clay,” which pays homage to the great Shin Fujihira, Elizabeth Essner (Independent Curator, Writer, and Research) written an essay which takes a deeper look at one of his iconic cinnabar water droppers:


“The Heart of the Matter” by Elizabeth Essner

There is a water dropper, or Suichûby Shin Fujihira that so closely evokes a heart it nearly seems to beat. This heart is not the honeyed pink of Cupid’s arsenal, but in its deep-veined blush–coaxed from red cinnabar–it rises into the territory of a muscle, a working tool at the very center of aliveness.

This heart that I find in Fujihira’s work was perhaps outside the artist’s intention but, once imagined, now exists. For those of us in the West, it is in some ways a gift that little is written in English on this Japanese master of clay. While the plot points of his biography are known, the impact of his work is free from the weight of words. Instead, the eye, the hand, and indeed, the heart, can lead the way.

Accolades are not needed to know that Fujihira was a maestro—this can be seen in the universe of his forms. His material command need not be detailed in prose. It is shown in the tenderness of a budding spout or understood in the clay bodies he has pinched and smoothed to a satisfying plumpness, or sharpened just enough to become steps that lead to another place. The majesty of his cinnabar glazes are cooled by colbalt or celadon. To take it all in requires an extra breath.

It is clear Shin Fujihira was driven by a rich inner life, perhaps cultivated during his years of illness as a young man. His figures–animal and human–are captured not only in the positive space of clay, but also in their presence, which extends out into the air around them. The implied roar of an open-mouthed tiger, the fable of a windswept girl who is nearly lifted up and carried away.

But, it is Fujihira’s functional works that seem to be at the heart of his practice. The chawanand incense burners of the tea ceremony, the water droppers used to release the calligrapher’s ink all come alive in the hand.

Fujihira inherited the material legacy of Kyoto’s famed Gojozaka area wherehis family was among generations of potters who have known clay not only in their hands but in their bones. In his youth, Fujihira absorbed its depth, observing the one-ness between hand and clay of mingeimaster Kanjiro Kawai. Clearly the artist cradled these traditions, but his forms chart a path somewhere new.

To make his work Fujihira eschewed the potter’s wheel and instead used only his hands, pinching Kyoto’s clay between them. While we may never know for sure, this methodical pinching suggests a desire to reach beyond what we know and into what we feel. The tools he created are in service of their ritualsSuichû,tea bowls, incense burners–portals to release the most interior self found within the gesture of calligraphy, the bitter tang of tea.

Now the artist’s spirit has come to New York, taking his rightful place within the beating heart of the city’s boundless cultural impulses. Fujihira’s world is now known in ours.

Laura de Santillana’s solo exhibition, “Moon. From Kyoto to New York.,” is now on view at Ippodo Gallery New York

Laura de Santillana’s solo exhibition, “Moon. From Kyoto to New York.,” opened today, Thursday April 18, and will be on view through May 24! For this show, de Santillana conceived a series of small format tablets in which metal leaf is incorporated or applied to the surface, suggesting the perception of the moon in a night sky. Within strict geometric forms exist dreamy worlds of jewel tones, shimmering hues, and translucent glass in a color range of deep blues, blue greys and silvery greys.

Laura de Santillana from Shoko Aono on Vimeo.

Hafu Matsumoto featured in “Wallpaper*” for his collaboration with Loewe to create basketry using leather

In an inspired collaboration for Milan Design Week, premier basketry artists, such as bamboo-weaver Hafu Matsumoto, produced works using Spanish luxury brand Loewe’s leather. Accompanying these artists’ works are a variety of bamboo-basket-inspired bags and ornaments specially created by Loewe for this occasion. Ippodo Gallery is pleased to work with them to promote the impact of arts and crafts on new styles and traditions today. Read more about it in this article by Wallpaper*! 
This show is on view at the Loewe Milano Store Via Monte Napoleone, 21, 20121 Milano from April 9~14, 2019.


Hafu Matsumoto and the artistic director of Loewe, Jonathan Anderson with artwork, “Creel”