Katsushiro Soho

BIO/CV

Living National Treasure of Japan
b. 1934, Kuroiso, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan

Nature is an important theme for Katsushiro, who comes from a farming family and spends his days working the land. The changing seasons spark ideas for his bamboo vessels, which represent the movement of wind across rice fields and shallow water beneath stones.

Katsushiro’s father and his first teacher, Kikuchi Yoshii, were also farmers who made bamboo baskets in the months when the fields were fallow. Watching his father carve abstract sculptures in wood and stone gave the young Katsushiro a taste for the artist’s life. But the path to that career was not easy. His six-year apprenticeship with Kikuchi included child care and house cleaning. He spent two additional years studying with Yagisawa Keizo and crafting commercial brooches and vases. With the encouragement of his third teacher, Saito Bunseki, he began using bamboo to make art.

Katsushiro’s innovative sculptures are included in collections at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, the Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs, Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, and the Ruth and Sherman Lee Institute for Japanese art. In 2005, he became Japan’s Living National Treasure in bamboo arts.

“In the beginning I was only making baskets for use, I didn’t even think of them as art,” he says. “When I began submitting them in exhibitions I started imagining that these pieces would last forever and that felt very good.”

 

Education

1949, Apprenticed to Kikuchi Yoshitada for 6 years

1955, Became independent

1965, Studied under Yagisawa Keizo for 2 years

 

Exhibitions & Accolades

1967, Admitted to Eastern Japan Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition for the first time (thereafter admitted 33 times and served as a judge 7 times)

1967, Winner of Japan Traditional Craft Arts Association Chairman’s Award and Encouragement Award

1968, Admitted to Japan Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition for the first time (thereafter admitted 30 times and served as a judge several times)

1968, Attained artist’s name “Soho”

1968, Studied under Saito Bunseki for 5 years

1972, Became full member of the Traditional Craft Arts Association

1972, Winner of the Excellence Award at the Japan Flower Vase & Tea Ceremony Utensils Art & Craft Exhibition

1972, Admitted to Japan Traditional Craft Arts Wood andBamboo Exhibition for the first time (thereafter admitted 7 times and served as a judge several times)

1973, Exhibited at Tochigi Artists Show (for 4 consecutive years)

1974, Admitted to Northern Kanto Art Exhibition (3 times)

1977, Exhibited by invitation at Tochigi Art Now Exhibition

1980, Became a judge at Musashino Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition

1981, Winner of Tochigi Art Festival Award

1983, Winner of Tokyo Governor’s Prize at Japan Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition

1984, Exhibited by invitation at the Japan Traditional Craft Arts 30th Anniversary exhibition, Living National Treasure – Thirty Years of the Development of Traditional Crafts

1985, Modern Bamboo Craft Arts: Development in Modern Times (the first major exhibition of this art at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo). The exhibit piece Keiryu (Torrent) – namichidori weaving – was purchased by the museum.

1988, Exhibited by invitation at Tochigi Artists 88

1988, Exhibited at Japanese and American Basket Makers, Chicago – the exhibit piece, Yoroke Yotsume-ami Hanakago (Staggering Square Plaiting Flower Basket) was purchased by First National Bank

1989, Admitted to Kanazawa Craft Great Award Competition 89 for the first time

1989, Assisted Iizuka Shokansai (Living National Treasure) at Training Seminar for successors for two years

1992, Senshu ami Kikyo-mon Morikago (Thousand Line Plaiting Balloon Flower Pattern Basket) purchased by Nishinasu City Folk Museum

1990, Seika Flower Basket Midsummer Flower Basket purchased by Tochigi Prefectural Art Museum

1994, Exhibited by invitation at Asahi Contemporary Craft Arts Exhibition

1995, Solo Exhibition at Nasunogahara Harmony Hall, Second Gallery

1995, Judge at 10th National Cultural Festival – Tochigi 95

1997, Winner of NHK Chairman’s Prize at Japan Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition

1998, Awarded Order of Academic and Artistic Merit by Japanese Government

1998, SOFA Chicago

1999, Bamboo Masters, Asia Society, New York

1999, International Asian Art Fair, SOFA, International 20th Century Art Fair, New York

1999, SOFA Chicago

2000, Bamboo Masterworks, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco

2000, Int’l. Asian Art Fair, SOFA, Int’l. 20th Century Art Fair, New York

2000, SOFA Chicago

2001, Bamboo Masterworks, Honolulu Academy of Art

2001, Arts of Pacific Asia, San Francisco

2001, International Asian Art Fair, New York

2002, Int’l. Asian Art Fair, SOFA, Int’l. Art & Design Fair, New York

2002, Antiques Chicago

2003, SOFA Chicago

2003, Int’l. Asian Art Fair and SOFA, New York

2003, Exhibited in The Hand Workshop Art Center, Richmond, Virginia

2004, Named Living National Treasure of Japan

2004, The San Francisco International Art Exhibit

2004, Palm Beach!, Florida

2004, The International Art & Design Fair, New York

2005, SOFA Chicago

2005, Weavers of Wonder Show at the Naples Museum, Florida

2006, The Internation al Asian Art Fair, New York

2006, Palm Beach!, Florida

2006, Art Miami

2006, Hin: The Quiet Beauty of Japanese Art, Grinnell College, Iowa

2006, Hin: The Quiet Beauty of Japanese Art, Chicago Cultural Center

2006, Exhibited at The Boston Museum of Fine Arts

2007, Listening to Bamboo: Japanese Baskets from the Collection of Ritalou & Robert Harris, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

2007, Arts of Pacific Asia Show, San Francisco

2007, Palm Beach!, Florida

2007, The International Asian Art Fair, New York

2008, The Arts of Pacific Asia Show, San Francisco

2008, The International Asian Art Fair, New York

2008, SOFA New York

2009, Listening to Bamboo, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NewYork

2009, SOFA New York and SOFA West: Santa Fe

2009, Art Miami

2010, SOFA New York and SOFA West: Santa Fe

2010, Dallas Art Fair

2010, Art Chicago

2010, Int’l. Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show, New York

2010, Art Miami

2011, SOFA New Yo rk

2011, Art Antiques London

2011, Dallas Art Fair

2011, Houston Fine Art Fair

2011, SOFA West: Santa Fe

2011, International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show, NewYork

2011, SOFA Chicago

2017, Masterpieces of Japanese Bamboo Art, TAI Modern at Joan B Mirviss LTD, New York, NY

 

Museum Collections

National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture, Hanford, California

Tochigi Prefecture Museum of Fine Arts, Japan

Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs

  • Masterpieces of Japanese Bamboo Art

  • Japanese Bamboo and the World Expo: A Century of Discovery