Thank you for coming to Suikei Saito’s calligraphy demonstration at the Museum of Arts and Design on Sep 11th !!

Suikei Saito's 2nd demonstration.

Suikei Saito’s 2nd demonstration.


Suikei Saito’s calligraphy demonstration held on September 11th at the Museum of Arts and Design, was a major success. Her outstanding and graceful performance blew away the crowd. She chose three words “希望”(Hope), “平和”(Peace) and “朋友”(Friendship) for this historically significant day in New York, and the power of calligraphy touched the hearts of New Yorkers.


We deeply appreciate your participation in the event and the cooperation of the Museum of Arts and Design.


Over 30 works, including these three demonstration pieces, are now on view at Ippodo Gallery until October 3rd.

We are looking forward to your visit!


Director Shoko Aono hosted the event.

Director Shoko Aono hosted the event.


The crowd welcomed Suikei Saito.

The crowd welcomed Suikei Saito.

Mr. Glenn Adamson (The director of Museum of Arts and Design) gave us a speech about Japanese art and calligraphy.

Mr. Glenn Adamson (The director of Museum of Arts and Design) gave us a speech about Japanese art and calligraphy.

RIMG5109 2


An Exhibition of Calligraphy by Suikei Saito : Art of Lines – “Human, and We Live”

A14573 - 1, 0141

人 (hito) Human


Calligraphy Demonstration by Suikei Saito & Reception :

September 11 ( Friday ) 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.

at Museum of Arts and Design ( 7th floor )  2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

Demonstration schedule
1) 3:30~
2) 4:30~
3) 5:30~

Please R.S.V.P. to or call +1 212.967.4899


NEW YORK, NY, August 4, 2015 – Ippodo Gallery New York is delighted to announce that it will be holding the first exhibition outside Japan of work by calligrapher Suikei Saito, from September 12 to October 3, 2015. For the opening of this exhibition, Saito will perform the calligraphy demonstration “Praying for Peace” at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York on Friday, September 11 from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. Reception for the artist will also take place during the demonstration.

“My struggle started when I became fascinated and astonished by the world of calligraphy, which is the ‘art of lines,’ and its depth, and when I made up my mind to master it.” – Suikei Saito

Suikei Saito first held a writing brush when she was twelve. After marrying and raising a family, Saito began searching for something to enrich her life. As fate would have it, she once again encountered calligraphy. With a renewed commitment to calligraphy she accepted the challenge of a journey without end. Her glyphs, created by a woman who has lived as a wife and a mother, are full of vitality, an enveloping warmth, an innocent boldness, a subtle humility, and, above all, a sense of elegance.

Suikei Saito first held a writing brush when she was twelve. After marrying and raising a family, Saito began searching for something to enrich her life. As fate would have it, she once again encountered calligraphy. With a renewed commitment to calligraphy she accepted the challenge of a journey without end. Her glyphs, created by a woman who has lived as a wife and a mother, are full of vitality, an enveloping warmth, an innocent boldness, a subtle humility, and, above all, a sense of elegance.


Saito has adopted the theme “Human, and We Live,” for her first solo exhibition in the human melting pot of New York. In preparation, she has set to work exhaustively on the character 人, hito, human, writing it again and again. It is a strange character that looks almost like two people are holding out their hands to support each other. She also wrote the characters for the full range of human emotions. Having explored the meaning and history of each character, her thoughts on paper are expressed in a state of no mind. Her calligraphy is an act of meditation, a spiritual dance. Each character is scattered one by one like sparks resembling elements in an abstract painting.


Calligraphy is an art woven of lines and the meanings of the characters. These Chinese characters originated in the Shang dynasty between 1700 and 1046 B.C.. While each letter in the alphabet indicates one sound, each Chinese character has one meaning, and there are well over 100,000 of these ideograms. Chinese characters began reaching Japan in the first century B.C. and have been used for two millennia to write Japanese. In Japan, they are known as kanji, “Chinese characters.” The art of calligraphy arrived later, with the transmission of Buddhism to Japan, and developed swiftly. Copying classic texts by the ancients or highly talented calligraphers became, for example, part of Zen training. By the late ninth century, in the Heian period, hiragana, a phonetic script unique to Japan was created to simplify writing Japanese. Calligraphy became regarded as one of Japan’s traditional arts, along with the tea ceremony, flower arranging, and the incense ceremony. There are now about seven or eight million practitioners of calligraphy in Japan. The writing implements used in calligraphy are distinctive. The brushes are made of animal hair (from sheep, tanuki raccoon dogs, and other sources). Sumi, ink, begins by mixing soot generated by burning either wood or oil (sesame, rapeseed, or soybean oil) with glue to form an ink stick. Some ink sticks are four hundred years old. Rubbing the ink stick on an inkstone or suzuri, which has a small pool of water at one end creates the smooth glossy liquid ink used in calligraphy. The process of taking time to rub the ink stick and make one’s own ink could be said to be a ritual in itself.


Today in our digital world, glyphs of all sorts are mass produced by machine. The glyphs that human beings write are, however, never the same. No two are ever alike. They are thus a tool of communication that captures the vigor, the energy, and even the heart and soul of the individual. Through the swing and graze of Saito’s brush and in the distinctive marks that result, the subtleties of the heart are expressed. This work goes beyond writing to become a form of painting.


By offering a demonstration of calligraphy in New York on September 11, Saito wishes to communicate the splendor of uniting without conflict.  We, Ippodo Gallery believe that her calligraphy transcends language to speak to us, to show us a path by which people can unite.


[ Suikei Saito’s Biography ]

1988 Studied under Syunkei Yahagi

1990 Won her first prize in the 42nd Mainichi Shodo Exhibition

1991 Won her first prize in the 39th Dokuritsu Sho Exhibition

2002/2003 Received an excellent prize at the 50th and 51st Dokuritsu Sho Exhibition

2005 Received a Parliament Building Vice-President Award at Vienna New Century

Court Art Festival (held at the Imperial Palace at Innsbruck, Austria)

2006 Received a gold prize at Today’s Japanese Art Exhibition (held at Monaco

Festival in 2006)

2010 Received an excellent prize at the 62nd Mainichi Shodo Exhibition


Present: An associate member of the Mainichi Shodo Association

An associate member of the Dokuritsu Shojindan Foundation

An instructor at Shiragiku-kai, Kioi Art Gallery, The Space “MAI”

An Exhibition of Ceramics by Ken Akaji – Spiral –


Aka-e vase
H14 3/4 W10 1/4 D10 1/4in
H37.1 W25.8 D25.8cm

Ippodo Gallery NY is delighted to announce that it will be holding the first solo exhibition outside Japan, of Japanese Aka-e porcelain by renowned master, Ken Akaji. The exhibition will be held from June 18 to July 3, 2015. Focusing on his latest ‘Spiral’ series, the exhibition will introduce forty works, including pots, bowls, plates and vases.

Ken Akaji was born in the city of Kanazawa in 1938. Kanazawa is a beautiful city, second only to Kyoto as a place where traditional culture not only survives, but flourishes. A castle town during the Edo period (1603-1868), it was home to the Shogun’s most trusted followers, the Maeda family. Kanazawa was a rich city with ample food, clothing and housing, and to this day, large numbers of its people are involved in traditional industries. This is the city where Ken Akaji was born and where, for sixty years, from the age of thirteen, he has continued to apply Aka-e designs to porcelain. However, his work differs slightly from the traditional Kutani-ware for which Kanazawa is famous. Among the old kilns of Japan, old Kutani stood out for its use of colorful glazes combined with gold coloring, producing flamboyant designs; many famous works remain and the area has produced large numbers of potters.

Akaji is a part of the Kutani ceramics world, but it would appear that his philosophical designs have always been driven by his rebellious spirit. He has struggled against taking the easy way presented by tradition, banal Kutani-ware, the arguably shallow aspects of contemporary art, and outdated ideas or concepts.

In his younger days, he was ‘convinced that [he] could express things through ‘shape’ and ‘red’ coloring alone.’ Despite his outstanding skill at the wheel, he often displays his creativity through works with distorted shapes. In addition, his choice of red coloring, symbolic of positive energy, dates back to memories of his youth. Until he was 15 years old, he lived in the district of Kanazawa that was famous for it’s geishas. He would observe the bengara (red iron oxide) that was used to paint the lattices on the front of the buildings in the area’s side streets – streets that were filled with the comings and goings of adult men and women. He reminisces that this is the origin of the red he uses in his work. Additionally, he comes from a family of lacquer workers. His uncle was the ‘Living National Treasure’, Yusai Akaji, and his father produced the wooden bases for lacquer artists. So when Akaji left home to start work in the ceramics world, he chose red for his works, as it was the same red (vermilion) his family had used for generations in their own work.

The current ‘Spiral’ series of work appears to have stimulated his creative spirit. If you look closely at familiar vegetables, such as white radishes, carrots, onions, etc., you will notice that the leaves and roots create a junction where they meet, where the energies from both top and bottom conflict. It is the point at which the energy that flows from top to bottom and from bottom to top clash, that Akaji seeks to express through his porcelain. To these, he has added a red spiral drawn in a single stroke. There is another red spiral on the interior. This expresses the energy of Ken Akaji; it is the energy possessed by this quiet, mild-mannered, seventy-seven-year-old, that has exploded out from within, and has taken shape in the outside world.

– Spiral –
The shape of the Milky Way, of whirlwinds and whirlpools, snails and ivy tendrils—it is the form of the fundamental and mathematical energy of nature, and the pattern we, mankind, have used as a symbol of death and rebirth.

For more information and request for admission, please contact Shoko Aono.
For more information and to view an online catalogue, please visit our Exhibition page, or see our official press release.


Ippodo will participate again in COLLECT London, opening on May 8, 2015!


Masahiro Maeda
Large bowls with enamel and silver overglaze


Ippodo Gallery is excited to announce that we will be exhibiting in”COLLECT: The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects” for the second consecutive time!

We will be presenting the most superb examples of contemporary Japanese art crafts.

We look forward to seeing you in London in the pleasant early summer weather.


Exhibiting artists

Ken Akaji, porcelain

Yuki Hayama, porcelain

Yukiya Izumita, ceramics

Shô Kishino, wood

Ryoji Koie, ceramics

Genbei Kondaya, textiles

Ken Matsubara, painting

Tohru Matsuzaki, lacquer

Junko Narita, doll

Yoshio Nishihata, lacquer

Harumi Noguchi, ceramics

Katsuya Ohigita, glass

Shota Suzuki, metal

Ruri Takeuchi, porcelain

Takashi Tomo-oka, photography

Shiro Tsujimura, ceramics

Yui Tsujimura, ceramics

Midori Tsukada, glass

Shinya Yamamura, lacquer



The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects


May 8 – 11, 2015


Saatchi Gallery


Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road

London SW3 4RY

United Kingdom


Ippodo Gallery : Booth 3.3 (Ground Floor Gallery 3)



May 8 – 11, 2014

Public View:

Friday, 8 May, 12pm – 6pm

Saturday 9 May, 11am – 6pm

Sunday 10 May, 11am – 6pm

Monday 11 May, 11am – 4pm


Thursday, 7 May, 4-6pm : Exclusive Preview

Thursday, 7 May, 6-9pm : Collector’s View

Friday, 8 May, 10am – 12pm : Private View


For more information, visit our art fair page.

Collect London’s official website.

hime — The Princess of Japan — “Was I born to Play? Was I born to Frolic?”

Kumi Nakata Doll of Sakura 2014 H12 W14 D11 1/2in H30.5 W35.5 D29cm

Kumi Nakata
Doll of Sakura
H12 W14 D11 1/2in
H30.5 W35.5 D29cm

Ippodo Gallery New York is delighted to announce that it will present the ‘hime – The Princess of Japan -‘ exhibition from March 12-30. This will coincide with New York’s Asia Week presenting the pinnacle of Japanese art crafts associated with Hime.

The samurai lived for victory in the battles that swept the country, creating the history of Japan in the process, but they could not have done so without the support of the brave yet elegant hime, who ran their homes, pursued beauty and produced a vibrant culture unique to Japan. These hime were the daughters of the most powerful families in the land, the Emperors, nobles, shogun and daimyo. Sometimes they served as bridges between rival families, other times they were used as political pawns. They devoted themselves to raising the fortunes of their families whilst being buffeted by the storms of life. Perhaps, that was why they strove to cultivate the refined arts, enjoying extravagant pastimes and living in graceful beauty.

The customs of each household were passed down from woman to woman, leading to the development of rich traditions in every aspect of life. They wore twelve-layered ceremonial kimono. The delicate combinations of color at the collar displayed their taste and sophisticated sensibilities, turning them into walking works of art. They were accomplished in ike-bana flower arranging, calligraphy and incense appreciation, bringing elegance and dignity to these ancient arts. If we compare the culture developed by the hime with that of the valiant samurai we see that much of it tends towards the delicate and decorative. The items created for their trousseaus were particularly outstanding, true jewels of Japanese traditional art crafts. They exemplified the highest possible levels of aesthetic technique.

The kimono and obi sashes that they wore and the items they used in their daily lives were epitomized by the Hatsune maki-e lacquer furnishings tended to be decorated with numerous lucky symbols: chrysanthemum, pine, plum, iris, bamboo, peony, gourd, flowing water, crane, turtle, and assorted treasures. All of these represented their parents’ wishes for a bright future for their daughters who were born into a world of strife. These objects doubtlessly served to help the hime to forget the sorrows of a life dedicated to fate and family tradition. In effect these became their symbolic guardians and friends allowing them brief moments of joy.

For this exhibition, Ippodo gallery has gathered various items that would have once delighted the hime. The beautiful silk kimonos and obis exhibit outstanding dyeing and weaving techniques; a fan with a yamato-e painting of a scene from the ‘Tale of Genji’ (1008); decorated hagoita battledores, kai-awase shell games, maki-e lacquer items dating from the 16th to 19th centuries, including incense and cosmetics boxes. Additionally, we present outstanding examples of contemporary art crafts, including dolls and small items utilizing kimono textiles.



For more information and request for admission, please contact Shoko Aono 

For more information, you can also visit our exhibition page.

Kohei Nakamura Exhibition of 50 Tea bowls

Tea bowl, O-Ido style 2014 H6 3/4xW4 1/4xD4 1/4in H10.6xW17.6xD17.6cm

Tea bowl, O-Ido style
H6 3/4xW4 1/4xD4 1/4in

Ceramic artist Kohei Nakamura, whose father is the third master of tea bowls of Kanazawa Baizan Nakamura, and whose brother is Kinpei Nakamura, has been making utsushi (translated as “reproductions or copies with subtle nuances”) of Koetsu Honami and Chojiro for 40 years. In these past several years however, he has started to create his own Raku tea bowls.

Nakamura’s tea bowls, which all possess unquestionable dynamism, and each one a unique form, come freely out of his imagination. It is as though he is discovering new ways to create his works, which quietly shine in the spotlight. Among his many accolades, Nakamura has received high praise from Seizo Hayashiya, a master of tea ceremony. He refers to Nakamura’s refined works as “Ido tea bowls of the Heisei period”.

For this current exhibition, the focus is to highlight Ido/Oido tea bowls. However, we will also introduce Nakamura’s new works, such as those in the Kofuki style and his Kurobe style black tea bowls.

Kohei Nakamura

1948 Born in Kanazawa, the third son of Baizan Nakamura.
1973 Graduated from the sculpture department of Tama University of Art.
1979 Selected as the 1st domestic fellow by Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs
1989 Award – Grand-Prix, Yagi-Kazuo Prize Exhibition
1990 Asahi Contemporary Crafts Exhibition (Umeda Hankyu Department Store, Osaka; Yurakucho Hankyu, Tokyo)
1993 Began representation by Garth Clark Galley in New York
1996 The Suntory Museum Grand Prize Exhibition’96 (Suntory Museum of
Art, Tokyo)
1997 Contemporary Ceramic Art (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
2006- Solo exhibitions at Ginza Ippodo Gallery
2012 Art Crafting Towards the Future (21st Century Museum of
Contemporary Art, Kanazawa)
Solo exhibition at Nomura Art Museum, Kyoto
2013 Contemporary Master Tea Bowl Exhibition (Musee Tomo, Tokyo)
Solo exhibition at Ginza Ippodo Gallery

<Public Collections>
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.
National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto

For more information and online catalogue, please visit our exhibition page

or please contact Shoko Aono.

Nobuyuki Okumura will be featured on a TV program called ‘Sekai Fushigi Hakken’ broadcast by TBS on February 7, 2015!



Nobuyuki Okumura Bronze Sculpture Exhibition

February 6, 2015 – February 21, 2015 at Ginza Ippodo Gallery (Closed on Mondays)

Nobuyuki Okumura repurposes an ancient cave in Bracciano, the suburb of Rome, and uses it as his studio.

He is persistent in his focus on ‘figurative form’ even though abstraction is the mainstream in the world of contemporary sculpture. He continues making sculptures through the Italian lost-wax casting method of the Roman/Greek period –successors to carry on this artistic tradition are few and far between, even in Italy.

A key characteristic of his sculptures lies in the beautiful surface created after casting and during the finishing process. The surface is treated to look as if coated with powder. With great respect for the tradition of his craft, and under the mentorship of Emilio Greco, a master sculptor, he produces work that radiates a certain warmth of humanity. Many artists look up to Okumura and study under him, witnessing the pure craftsmanship in his production.

In October 2003, Okumura produced a bronze bust of Pope John Paul II in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of his pontificate – to the Pope’s great fancy. Even after his death, the bust was displayed at the Vatican Library alongside a sculpture by Bernini. Okumura and the bust he created garnered widespread interest (this story will be featured on a TV program called ‘Sekai Fushigi Hakken’ broadcast by TBS on February 7, 2015).

In this exhibition, approximately 30 sculptures will be shown including the bronze bust of Pope John Paul II, statues of the Greek gods, and Buddha.

We sincerely hope that you enjoy the world-renowned Okumura’s bronze sculptures.


1953 Born in Tokyo

1972 Graduated from Tokyo Metropolitan Hibiya High School

1974-80 Repeatedly accepted for Kokuten Exhibition

1975 Enrolled in Sculpture department of Academy of Fine Arts in Rome

Studied under Emilio Greco

1977 Graduated from Department of Arts, Sculpture Course of Tokyo Gakugei University

1985 Left for Italy and became an assistant to sculptor Milton Hebald

1988 Won a prize in the 2nd Rodin Grand Prize Exhibition at Hakone Open-Air Museum

1990 Became a pupil at Emilio Greco’s studio

1992 Solo exhibition at Studio NM in Rome

1993 Permanent exhibition at L’ IPPOCASTANO Gallery in Rome

1994 Solo exhibition in Tokyo

1995 Solo exhibition at Mitsukoshi Gallery in Osaka

1996 Solo exhibition at Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan

His relief,  ‘12 Ecliptical constellations’, was donated to the Seiryo Hall in Hibiya

Designed and established the bronze fountain, ‘Wood sprite’, at the Sasaki residence in Mita City

Received a message of endorsement and praise from the Italian Vice President

1997 Solo exhibitions at Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi, Chiba Mitsukoshi, and Kobe Mitsukoshi

Installed the monument, ‘The Centaur and a girl’, at Senzoku Gakuen College

Produced a small relief for the 50th anniversary of foundation of Seiryo-kai

1998 Solo exhibition at Mitsukoshi Gallery in Osaka

Installed the relief, ‘Hisyou suru uma ni matagaru Diana’, at Otsuma Nakano High School

Installed a portrait of the Duke of Paul Borghese in Artena, Italy

His relief, ‘Amazon’, was donated at the 120th anniversary ceremony of Tokyo Metropolitan Hibiya High School

Installed a statue of Lobstein for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in Rome

Produced statues of Lady Pamela and her daughter Lala at Palazzo Borghese, Rome

1999 Installed a statue of Andrew Bertie, a leader of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in Rome

Produced a memorial medal for Alan Campbell Johnson in London

Solo exhibition at Ginza Ippodo Gallery

Nominated for Food and Agriculture Organization’s auction and sold works in Cairo

2001 Okumura Sculpture Exhibition formally joined “Italia in Giappone 2001” Exhibition

Solo exhibitions at Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi, Osaka Mitsukoshi, and Ginza Ippodo Gallery

Produced a statue of Eitaka Tsuboi, President of Japan Medical Association, in Tokyo

2003 Produced and presented a bronze bust of Pope John Paul II

Happy New Year!

Fujio Kawagishi Tanakazari ( New Year's decoration )

Fujio Kawagishi
Tanakazari ( New Year’s decoration )

Thank you for helping make 2014 such a wonderful year! At our lacquer ware exhibition, individual after individual was drawn in by the tradition of lacquer ware and were privy to the rich depths of Japanese crafts. At our exhibition of teabowls, people were moved by the connections they felt with each on holding each teabowl in their hands, they were fascinated by the microcosm of each piece. Harumi Noguchi’s highly anticipated sculpture show featured pieces based on characters of Japanese folklore, possessing a vibrant energy – they came to life in the hearts of those who saw them. At the art fair in London, countless clients repeatedly stopped by our booth and many purchases were made. And at our 4th time participating in the art fair in Chicago, we had encounters with familiar faces, as well as fresh ones.
What do we take from art crafts and other beautiful objects? We believe it’s the opportunities that arise for connections between one human to another. Japanese art crafts are thoroughly born of both hand and soul – this is carried on not just in what we can see, but also in what we feel in our hearts. Whether times are rough or tranquil in our lives, pieces exist like good friends. They represent a celebration of the human experience.

To those masterful individuals who create splendid works of art, and to those who appreciate these works, with heartfelt gratitude, we thank you! In 2015, we will continue to strive to discover and present to you the most beautiful art crafts from all over Japan.

We hope that you have a beautiful year!

Shoko Aono & the Ippodo team
Ippodo New York
2015. 1.1.

Harumi Noguchi Okami – Wolf & The Elemental Spirits of Nature

02-8 Light

December 08, 2014 – December 27, 2014

“There was a time when I was small that I was looked after by a cross between a Japanese wolf and a dog.  

In Japanese the term for wolf, okami, has the same pronunciation as that for ‘great god’. 

Mountains are the site of death and rebirth; it is not actual wolves that people worship, rather they represent the Okami, the great god that controls the endless cycle of infinite life possessed by the mountains. The Japanese wolf is now extinct, but I would like to take this solo exhibition as an opportunity to consider ‘ the Japanese, God and Religion’. ”                  

– Harumi Noguchi


Ippodo Gallery New York is delighted to announce that from December 8, it will be presenting Harumi NOGUCHI’s second exhibition of sculpture in New York, entitled OKAMI-The Wolf and The Elemental Spirits of Nature.

Since ancient times the Japanese people have believed that ‘Kami’, elemental spirits, inhabited the plants and wind, the mountains, seas, forests, and rivers. Even today, when we walk through the countryside we frequently come across shrines dedicated to these elemental spirits. Using clay as her medium, the remarkably talented woman sculptor, Harumi NOGUCHI , recreates the demons and spirits that appear in ancient Japanese tales or legends, as well as some of the countless gods that reside in nature.

Born in Tokyo in 1954, NOGUCHI delighted in reading books on mythology, legends and old tales from an early age, becoming fascinated with the view of nature held by the Japanese of the eighth century when Japan’s oldest books, the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki were written. As she grew, she played with the spirits that inhabited the great trees of the forests and whenever she stepped into the sea or a river, she fantasized that she was coming into direct contact with the god of water. She devoted herself to the study of documents and literature, becoming deeply versed in the Japanese character and folk beliefs. “The faith of the Japanese is based on an awareness of a vast, invisible power. As soon as a people is no longer able to feel this power, the beauty of their country will fade.” She was in her forties when she began to work in clay and ever since she has concentrated on the creation of thee-dimensional sculptures that express her unique worldview. She says that when she is working, she sometimes feels that her body is unable to keep up with the images that flow from her mind. It is as if the elemental spirits have taken over her hands in order to embody themselves in this world, appearing in an abundant variety of guises, richly individualistic and displaying lively expressions.

The title of this exhibition, ‘OKAMI’, can mean either ‘wolf’ or ‘great god’ depending on the Japanese characters used to write it. This has a great significance for NOGUCHI as when she was small, her grandmother kept dog that was a cross between a Japanese wolf and a dog and it protected her when she was small. In the area stretching from Mt. Mitsuminesan to Mt. Mitakesan, northwest of Tokyo, the shrines devoted to mountain asceticism, have statues of wolves, known as ‘Oinu-sama’, enshrined at their entrances in place of the usual guardian dogs and from this we can see that the ancient worship of wolves remains alive in Japan to this day.

Like foxes and deer, wolves are considered messengers of the gods, and in ancient times they were venerated as gods in their own right under the name, ‘Okuchi’ (Big Mouth). Ms. Noguchi believes that as the apex predator, the wolf symbolized the rich cycle of life and death upon which mountain worship is based and that is why it was given the name ‘Okami’ (great god).

Her works take us back to the primordial beliefs of Japan. They are neither judgmental nor subservient; they exist humbly and kindly together with nature, representing countless prayers to the souls that live within tiny things. Today, people think only of personal profit, destroying the mountains for the wealth they contain, polluting the oceans and slaughtering vast numbers of living creatures through the reckless exploitation of resources. The Japanese wolf is now extinct but we hope that the works in this exhibition will allow you to feel the close relationship that once existed between nature and humankind, taking you back to a vivid world, full of life. As NOGUCHI says, “I hope that this solo exhibition will provide an opportunity for everybody to consider ‘the Japanese, God and religion’. ”


In Japan, people perceive the existence of gods throughout everything in nature.
These are not omniscient or omnipotent beings,
Rather, they are delicate, ephemeral forces.
However, the birth of life ensues out of the strength that is this fleeting nature.
It is awe-inspiringly precious.

Forests, trees, rivers, boars, birds, tigers, and wolves, all are alive.
And all eventually die.

What is life?
Why do we live?
Surely it is to meet with other life.
As far as the eye can see, the world is overflowing with life.
The sun rises, the wind blows.
We exist in order to interact with this life,
During our limited time here.

In ancient times, people and nature shared a strong affinity for one another.
Harumi Noguchi’s mythological and fantastical characters – made from lumps of clay – are brought to life in the real world through her hands.
They are like friends who listen to our words, sing and dance together with us.

Shoko Aono
Ippodo New York
October, 2014


For more information and request for admission, please contact Shoko Aono 

For more information, you can also visit our exhibition page.