Seiji Fujishiro Gallery

Kiri-e Gallery and Museum, Nasu Kogen Tochigi

By Louise Archer    - 2 min read

Seiji Fujishiro’s is a Kiri-e artist. Surprisingly, he has a Gallery and Museum in Nasu Kogen, completely off the beaten track that you would never come across if you weren't looking for it.

But it's worth the effort to find it. I went in Autumn; the leaves were vivid reds and yellows and the gallery is set in beautiful grounds with nature all around. Inside the museum seating is placed to capture these views perfectly. He uses light and mirrors to create amazing works and spaces in his gallery.

Kiri-e is Japanese cut-out art, fashioned after the principle of silhouettes. Fujishiro uses three layers of paper behind glass and back lit. The works are displayed in a dark exhibit area that further enhances the effect. This technique doesn't transfer well to printed matter or photographs so what you see here is far less impressive than the real thing. His website is better, or go to an exhibit when there is one near you...

The museum is dark, with the only light sources mostly coming from behind his art, making colorful silhouettes. "Kiri-e" comes from the Japanese word "kiru" which means cut. It's popular in Japan, but only a few artists are known for it.

The medium is cut paper and other materials. Upon close inspection, one will find that the art is actually three dimensional; the paper is placed in three dimensions from behind the glass, giving the scenes a sense of distance that leaves some objects out of focus.

Fujishiro is now over 89 years old and still working, with some of his latest work coming from the pictures of the tsunami ravaged Fukushima region. Interestingly, his gallery doesn't provide pensioner discounts to people younger than himself, as he feels he is still young!

As I mentioned above, the beauty of the illuminated artwork is lost completely as prints on paper, you have to go to an exhibition to truly appreciate it. I loved it! If you ever get a chance to see his stuff, go do it, you won’t regret it.. It's also a gallery that will enchant adults and children alike, for differing reasons, but definitely a family gallery.

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Louise Archer

Louise Archer @louise.archer

I am an Aussie expat (ex Sydney, Perth, ex UK) living in rural Japan. Im very passionate about people seeing more of Japan than the big cities, which are wonderful places, but there are so many hidden treasures in the countryside and lesser known regions. For the three years I have been living here I've been keeping a blog called "Just life (in Japan)"  about my life in Japan, the places I visit and Tochigi Prefecture where I live.