Mitsuko was born in Osaka in 1944, the second daughter of the fifth generation lacquer artist Kawabata Kinsa. In 1970 Mitsuko married Tanabe Chikuunsai III. After their marriage she became attracted to bamboo art and began studying with her father-in-law and husband. Within a few years, she was exhibiting her artwork at the family shows.
In 1988 she won the Osaka Governor's Award at the Sakai City Art Exhibition and started her professional career as a bamboo artist. She has won many prizes included the Chairman of Kyoto Chamber of Commerce Prize at the Japan Modern Craft Art Exhibition in 2002.
Mitsuko creates bamboo sculptures inspired by techniques inherited from the Chikuunsai lineage and her brother-in-law Tanabe Yota's sculptural sensibility. She has exhibited in the Nitten and Japan Modern Craft Art Exhibitions, and has actively shown her artwork overseas, including exhibitions in the U.S., New Zealand, and Korea.
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