Sasai Fumie


1973, Osaka, Japan

  • 1996

    BFA, Kyoto City University of Arts, Kyoto

  • 1998

    MFA, Kyoto City University of Arts, Kyoto

Selected One Person Exhibitions
  • 1999

    Tokyo International Forum

  • 2001

    Wacoal Ginza Art Space, Tokyo
    Gallery Maronie, Kyoto

  • 2002

    Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi

  • 2003

    Chiang Mai University Art Museum

  • 2004

    The Japan Foundation, Bangkok

  • 2005

    The Art Gallery, The Japan Foundation, Bangkok

  • 2006

    Gion Konishi, Kyoto
    Silver Shell Kyobashi, Tokyo

  • 2007

    Gallery Kian, Kyoto
    Gallery Enbu, Aichi

  • 2009

    ITOSHIKI Ka-Ta-Chi (Lovely Shapes), Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi

  • 2010

    Gallery Caption, Gifu

  • 2013

    Takashimaya Nihonbashi, Tokyo/Takashimaya Osaka/Takashimaya Yokohama, Kanagawa

  • 2015

    Gion Konishi, Kyoto
    Galerie Mizen, Paris

  • 2017

    Galerie an der Pinakothek der Moderne, Munchen

Selected Group Exhibitions
  • 2001

    The 7th International Contemporary Art Festival, Tokyo International Forum
    The 4th OKAMOTO Taro Memorial Award for Contemporary Art, Okamoto Taro Museum, Kanagawa

  • 2002

    Selected New Artists Exhibition of Kyoto, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art

  • 2006

    The Child, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi

  • 2008

    My Favorite Flowers, Takashimaya Nihonbashi, Tokyo

  • 2009

    Contemporary Japanese Lacquer, KEIKO Gallery, MA
    SASAI Fumie and TASHIMA Etsuko in the Flower Garden, Tsukuba Museum of Art

  • 2010

    Kyoto Crafts Biennial, Invited Artist Section, The Museum of Kyoto

  • 2011

    Flawless, Contemporary Japanese Lacquer, Cavin Morris Gallery, New York, NY
    Japanese Modern Arts and Artists in Ibaraki, The Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki

  • 2012

    New Vibrance in International Woman’s Urushi Art, Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukushima

  • 2013

    Wakaranai No Susume, The Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki
    Art of KOGEI, Spirit of Kyoto, Vietnam Fine-Arts Museum, Hanoi

  • 2014

    Beyond Boundaries: A Future of Traditional Decorative Arts, Ginza WAKO Hall, Tokyo
    Urushi, Gallery Yakimono, Paris

  • 2015   

    The world of Urushi and Ghost, Wajima Museum of Urushi Art, Ishikawa
    Urushi Mountains, Hankyu Umeda, Osaka
    Collected Items, The Museum of Modern Art Ibaraki
    Form of Urushi, Gallery Sokyo, Kyoto

  • 2016

    Takashimaya Charitable Trust for Art and Culture Prize, Selection Exhibition, Takashimaya Nihonbashi, Tokyo
    Craft Arts: Innovation of Tradition and Avant-Garde, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
    Art of KOGEI, Spirit of Kyoto, Takashimaya
    Beyond Boundaries: A Future of Traditional Decorative Arts, Takashimaya Osaka,

  • 2017

    Designing Japan, Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
    Hard Bodies: Contemporary Japanese Lacquer Sculpture, Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN

Professional Experience, Residencies, Grants
  • 2003-2004

    Special Intern, Chiang Mai University

  • 2004-2005

    Artist in Residence, Chiang Mai University

  • 2005-present

    Associate Professor, Kyoto City University of Arts

  • 2001

    Special Award, Saga Art Competition

  • 2003

    POLA Art Foundation, Overseas Training Program

  • 2004

    UNION Foundation for Ergo design Culture, Overseas Training Program

  • 2008

    The 30th Memorial Award, The Kyoto Art and Craft Artists Association Exhibition

  • 2014

    The Best Young Artist Award by City of Kyoto

  • 2015

    The Kyoto Prefecture Cultural Prize, Encouragement Award
    Takashimaya Charitable Trust for Art and Culture Prize

Museum Collections
  • Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MA, USA
    Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN, USA
    Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi, Japan
    The Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki, Japan
    The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto, Japan


In Japan, ‘nurimono’ refers to things that are coated. The most common are things that are coated with urushi, (lacquer), a highly skilled craft in Japan for centuries.

The most common types of lacquer surfaces are those that are highly polished with a glossy sheen, or matte surfaces which have a soft appearance with a slight luster. These finished textures express the character of the piece as well as the personality and tastes of the artist. I prefer the matte surface of lacquer and a weight of the object which is comfortable to handle, because I want people to desire to touch them and enjoy and appreciate the inherent tactile qualities of the lacquer surface.

I create pieces that are based on forms that I believe have endearing universal appeal, such as flowers, fruit or children. I use the matte surfaces and soft forms to express tenderness in order to elicit these feelings from other people. For the basic forms, I use an ancient Japanese technique known as kanshitsu, which in my forms is dry lacquer applied to hemp cloth and Styrofoam.

I have pursued this concept for a very long time. However, in the spring of 2014, something new emerged in my work that was inspired by the crisp folds and layers of traditional Japanese kimono.

Subsequently I had opportunities to collaborate with artists in other genres and media, such as bamboo, porcelain, and other lacquer decorations such as makie and kirikane, which I exhibited in Tokyo in the fall of 2014. This experience was very exciting for me because out of those collaborations, I developed unexpected shapes with new expressions.

While I will continue pursuing my original concept of using endearing forms, I also want to explore these new possibilities in contributing to the new world of lacquer art.