all photos by Taku Saiki courtesy National Crafts Museum
What kind of chemical reaction would occur from combining the various genres of Japanese craft, with what has become on of Japan’s most-popular exports: Pokemon. This call-to-action from Kanazawa’s famed National Crafts Museum was answered by over 20 artisans working across multiple disciplines and ranging in age from young to Living National Treasure.
Venusaur (フシギバナ) figurine created by ceramic sculptor Sadamasa Imai
Indeed, much in the same way that Japanese crafts rely heavily on natural materials and elements like clay, water, wood, fire and metal, Pokemon are also categorized by their many elements. And although the similarities would seem to stop there, the Pokemon x Kogei exhibition, which opens today and runs through June 11, 2023, presents Japanese crafts in an entirely new light. From clay figurines and porcelain bowls to dyed silk and lacquerware, you’ll be amazed how beautiful Pokemon could be rendered.
The exhibition at the National Crafts Museum in Kanazawa runs from March 21 – June 11, 2023.
Shaymin (シェイミ) created by ceramic artist Kasumi Ueba, who integrates Japanese traditional decorative motifs such as interlocking circles or hexagonal pattern onto ceramic works
Umbreon (ブラッキー) obi clip and brooch created by Katsura Morihito, a metal artist known for his incising and chiseling (chōkin) techniques. He was designated a Living National Treasure in 2008
Pikachu (ピカチュウ) cups by Takuro Kuwata, a contemporary Japanese potter known for his revolutionary style.
left: Gengar (ゲンガー) dyed silk in edo komon style by textile artist Yasuyoshi Komiya | right: Pikachu (ピカチュウ) silk needle lace by textile designer Reiko Sudo
a yuzen-dyed kimono featuring the Mareep (メリープ) Pokemon, created by textile artist Saori Hizuhashi
Ho-Oh (ホウオウ) phoenix tea container by lacquerware artist Yoshiaki Taguchi
the video above shows a porcelain vessel featuring various Pokemon and created by Yuki Hayama, ab artist who has studied decorative patterns from around the world and imbues each piece with an entire world
this sculpture was created from 8 different types of wood by artist Toru Fukuda using, who is known for his work solely utilizing unpainted wood from naturally growing trees to create his pieces
Charizard (リザードン) clay pot made by Keiko Matsumoto in the shigaraki-yaki style of pottery. The artist is known for her traditional pots, vases and plates infused with unexpected elements, like floral pieces, animals, and other seemingly random objects
Gyarados (ギャラドス) jizai okimono, which are small, articulated metal figures that typically have moveable bodies, arms and legs. It was created by Haruo Mitsuta, who produces metal sculptures of insects and crustaceans with obsessively detailed and extraordinarily lifelike precision
Jolteon (サンダース) by decorative metal artist Taiichiro Yoshida. The piece is made from copper, gold and silver using a combination of engraving, hammering, and plating
a tea caddy featuring mysterious hieroglyphics made by Terumasa Ikeda, an innovative raden specialist. Ikeda fabricates shimmering mother-of-pearl hieroglyphics and symbols into the exterior of his lacquered boxes, creating a holographic luminescence that emanates from within.