Tanioka Aiko


1947-2017, Chiba Prefecture, Japan

  • 1985

    Studied under Tanabe Chikuunsai III for 15 years to learn the Tanabe family tradition and techniques

Exhibitions & Accolades
  • 2000

    Admitted to International Craft Exhibition at Itami, Hyogo

  • 2002

    The Next Generation, University of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR

  • 2002

    The Arts of Pacific Asia, San Francisco, CA

  • 2005

    Weavers of Wonder, Naples Museum, Naples, FL

  • 2006

    Hin: The Quiet Beauty of Japanese Art, Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA and the Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL

  • 2010

    A Different Sensitivity: Women in Bamboo Art, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

    Three-person exhibition, Tokyo

  • 2011

    The Many Shapes of Bamboo Art V, Oita City Museum

  • 2012

    Modern Twist: Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Art, Bellevue Arts Museum, WA (thereafter traveled to 12 other venues)

  • 2016

    Discovering Japanese Bamboo Art: The Rusty & Ann Harrison Collection, Herron School of Art & Design, Indianapolis, IN

  • 2017

    Tanioka Shigeo and Tanioka Aiko, TAI Modern, Santa Fe, NM

  • 2018

    Hanakago: The Art of Bamboo and Flowers, Portland Japanese Gardens, Portland, OR

  • 2020

    Spring is Here, TAI Modern, Santa Fe, NM

Museum Collections
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN

    Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA

    Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN


In the countryside where I grew up, there was a bamboo forest nearby. Our family ate bamboo shoots in the spring, and there were many household items made of bamboo. So I feel bamboo was always part of my life.

There was a man who made bamboo baskets near my childhood home. I was always fascinated watching him make baskets. One time, I asked him if he could teach me, but he declined saying he was too old to teach anymore. Many years later, I was visiting Osaka for two days. During the first evening I felt something exciting would happen the next day. The following day, I had some spare time and decided to go see Chikuunsai III’s exhibition at a department store art gallery. He spoke to me while I was there which eventually led to my becoming one of his students. My family was against my studying bamboo art, but I felt very strongly about my instinct and this exciting new direction in my life.

Bamboo has strength, pliability, and the wonderful beauty of its natural colors and shapes. When I try to use it as an artwork medium, it is like a person who you like very much and is at the same hard to please. This can create a dilemma in how to approach it, and at the same time be one of the charms of this material. It is challenging to bring the best out of each culm of bamboo with the desire to express something beautiful, elegant,and exciting.

Oh, how I wish I had more time for my artwork. I need to spend a good deal of my day doing family household tasks. This makes me think, am I really a professional artist? My immediate goal is to spend more hours focusing on my artwork.

  • Spring is Here

  • Tanioka Shigeo & Tanioka Aiko

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

  • A Different Sensitivity: Women in Bamboo Art