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Beniya Mingeiten

Tokyo, Japan

Sep 30 2023 → Oct 9 2023

1-33-8 Komaba,


Tokyo, 153-0041



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Hisashi Kitahara

Brief personal history :

1939: Born in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture

In 1986, became the chief of restoring 金閣寺 (Kinkakuji Temple).

He has been nominated by Nagano prefecture to design a letter box 文箱 (fumibako).  His art piece "彫漆野菊紋文箱” was gifted to the present Emperor of Japan and "彫漆勿忘草紋文箱" was gifted to the present Prince of Japan.  

He was in a NHK program, 「金閣蘇る ("Kinkaku Yomigaeru ") and 「プロジェクトX金閣寺」("Project X Kinkakuji"). 

He was a formal member of the Kokugakai.


At the age of 16, he encountered "Urushi" for the first time in his life and he fell in love with it for the next 60 years.  As he pursued his career, aside from his personal work, from 1986 to 1987, he became the "Urushi" chief of restoring the Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto. This restoration was aired on TV 「プロジェクトX 挑戦者たち 金閣再建 黄金天井に挑む」, a NHK program.  Aside from "Urushi," Hisashi worked as a painter. He also self-educated different forms or art such as 堆朱彫 (Tsuishubori), 彫漆(Choushitsu), 螺鈿 (Raden), 蒟醤 (Kinnma), and 蒔絵 (Makie).  This led him to develop his unique style of artwork. In order to create "Urushi," it must be done through a step by step process through hands of people.  However, his artwork is solely created by him from the beginning to the final step 加飾 (Kashoku).  His artwork varies simple to complex, sharing the world with many of his unique creations.

Susumu Kitahara

Brief personal history :

1966: Born in Kiso, Nagano Prefecture

1985: Studied woodwork under an artist

1989: Starts work with Hisashi Kitahara

1994: His work has been nominated from the 68th to 81st Kokugakai art exhibition

He is a formal member of the Kokugakai.


Through an influence of his grandfather, Susumu was interested in creating "things" from woods and began to use woodworking tools at the age of five. As he grew older, looking at his grandfather's and father's artworks, his interests naturally led him to become one of them. He was involved in restoring the Kinkakuji Temple and through this experience, he learned that perseverance was an important fact in creating and preserving art. Through the lessons of his father, his artwork is created from scratch to completion solely by him.  "Urushi" takes a lot of time and work that some might say it's crazy in this 21st century that this form of art is done alone.  Though technology can give a hand to create his artwork, he strongly believes that it is important that he creates them by his hand, giving his love and warmth to nature and to the people that will hold his artworks. All of the ingredients to process of creating such as drying Urushi, come from nature. As he proceeds to form any art, he communicates with nature and naturally brings out what he sees in it. That is what he values in his creations.

Kitahara Wood & Urushi Works

"Kitahara Wood & Urushi Works" in Nagano, Japan was founded in 1965 by Hisashi Kitahara.  Since then Hisashi Kitahara has been known as an "Urushi" artist and Susumu Kitahara as a "Wood and Urushi" artist, following their traditions of design, woodwork, and urushiwork.  Our artworks are placed in museums and galleries at several locations in Japan and Beijing.  

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