Kajiwara Koho

Kajiwara Koho


b. 1935, Kamitsue, Oita Prefecture, Japan

  • 1952

    Apprenticed to Iwao Kounsai and Iwao Honan

Exhibitions & Accolades
  • 1965

    Admitted to 9th Beppu City Art Exhibition (thereafter admitted many times)

  • 1976

    Admitted to Oita Prefecture Art Exhibition (thereafter admitted many times)

  • 1977

    Admitted to Japan Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition, Western Division (thereafter admitted many times)

  • 1979

    Admitted to Japan Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition (thereafter admitted 14 times and a winner once)

  • 1981

    First Solo Exhibition at Iwataya

  • 1982

    Became member of Oita Association of Arts

  • 1983

    Beppu Municipal Museum acquired his flower basket titled “Aso”

  • 1985

    Became full member of Traditional Craft Arts Association
    Admitted to 2nd Japan Traditional Craft Arts Wood and Bamboo Exhibition

  • 1986

    Official recognition as Traditional Skill Holder

  • 1988

    Received Beppu Mayor’s Award

  • 1991

    Winner of NHK Chairman’s Prize at 38th Japan Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition

  • 1992

    Winner of Full Membership Award at 26th Japan Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition, Western Division
    Winner of Governor’s Award and OG Award at 28th Oita Prefecture Art Exhibition

  • 1993

    Received Special Recognition Award from Governor of Oita

  • 1996

    Prime Minister of Japan presented his work as a gift to the President of France

  • 1997

    The Beauty of Wood and Bamboo, Iwataya Gallery

  • 2003

    The Classic Japanese Basket, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

  • 2004

    Exhibited in the Hand Workshop Art Center, Richmond, VA

  • 2006

    Power & Delicacy: Master Works of Japanese Bamboo Art at TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
    Hin: The Quiet Beauty of Japanese Art, Grinnell College, IA and Chicago Cultural Center, IL

  • 2011

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

  • 2013

    Oita’s Art Movement, in partnership with the Oita Prefectural Government, a museum-quality show, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

  • 2014

    Group show, Japanese American Cultural Community Center, Los Angeles, CA

  • 2017

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

  • 2018

    Fendre L’ Air, Musee du Quai Branly Jacques Chirac, Paris

Museum Collections
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
    Imperial Household, Japan
    Beppu City Museum of Art
    Beppu City Traditional Bamboo Craft Art Museum
    Oita Prefectural Art Hall
    Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA


I was born at Kamitsue, a mountain village of Western Oita. I loved drawing and was very crafty, so a good friend of my aunt who was a village doctor from Oita suggested I go study bamboo craft under Mr. Iwao Kounsai. I went to Oita at the age of seventeen, and spent ten years apprenticed to him. I planned initially to become an independent in three or four years, but I changed my mind when I became ill for ten months. I decided to learn from both Kounsai and his son Honan as much as possible.

With the process of bamboo art, it is the preparation of splitting and stripping that is so difficult. Weaving and plaiting alone won’t make a person a “bamboo artist.” Resilience and the beauty of the plaited surface is what I consider the uniqueness of bamboo art.

I feel a part of my brain is constantly thinking about the next work no matter what I am doing.  When I get an idea, I draw rough sketches on the back of a calendar, and later draw a more detailed plan. I have become quite good at this.

I have tried to express the natural beauty of Japan through bamboo, and I would like to continue doing so. You won’t become rich by being a bamboo artist, but I am happy to see my work give joy to my clients, and my work speaks to who I am as a person.

One of the duties of being a traditional craft artist in Japan is to train one’s successor. Considering, I am lucky for this.  I have a few talented individuals whom I have trained step-by-step from beginner’s level to more advanced levels.

Many imports are flooding into the market, and it is not easy to sustain the level of quality.  In order to carry on the tradition, we also need to educate consumers that it saves more to buy good quality over the period.

Anyone who is crafty can weave and plait bamboo baskets, but you must have an impressionable heart.  If you are type of person who does not think of anything to see a little flower by the street for example, you should forget about becoming either artisan or artist.  When I see many baskets which are no more than a copy of someone else’s work in the exhibitions, I get very disappointed and hurt.

  • Ten Thousand Flowers

  • Japanese Bamboo Art at Santa Fe Art Week