HAYAKAWA Shokosai V
Living National Treasure of Japan
According to Japanese custom, only one son of each generation is permitted to inherit the family tradition. Forty-eight years ago, Hayakawa Shokosai V was chosen by his father to learn the craft. The artist is the
fifth-generation descendant of Shokosai I, who was the first bamboo artist
to sign his work.
In 2003, Shokosai V was named a Living National Treasure in bamboo arts. Two years later, he received the Order of the Rising Sun from the Japanese government. His work is housed at Tokyo's National Museum of Modern Art, the Agency of Cultural Affairs, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, Denver Art Museum, and Ise Shrine, the state guesthouse in Kyoto where visiting dignitaries reside.
Of his work with bamboo, Hayakawa says, "Let me tell you the truth. I was
not at first fond of this art. I did not consider myself skilled enough.
But I could not stand the idea of terminating the artist line of our
family. After five or six years of hard training, I made my first bamboo
basket. The excitement of creating it was unforgettable."
"I realized that the work is really a reflection of inner self. If you try
to over-manipulate bamboo to make a shape, the shape becomes unnatural or even breaks by force. I began to realize that just as we have feelings, so does bamboo. I constantly talk and listen to it now."
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