THE LANGUAGE OF
dramatic high point of the 1982 spring collection of the internationally - known
fashion designer Issey Miyake was a rattan and bamboo bodice - a contemporary
rendering of light Samurai armor - made by Kosuge Shochikudo, a Japanese bamboo
artist from Hayama, on the outskirts of Tokyo. In an interview the 62-Year-old
Shochikudo reflected on his life and work.
was a genius. One day he saw a bamboo flower basket from China and, using it
as a model, he creates as a similar one. From that moment he proceeded to teach
himself the art of bamboo craft. At the age of 19, he became a teacher at a
I watched my father at work from the time I was a baby and started making things with bamboo when I was seven. At 15, I was awarded a prize for my work in a crafts exhibit in Tokyo. At the time, however, it did not cross my mind to make
I wanted very much to go to high school, but we did not have the money and I ended up going to the Navy Academy. As a young man, I was trained as a pilot, but then lost may hearing as a result of an accident. The only profession open to me was the bamboo craft. The skills I had leaned as a child came back easily. Living on severance pay, I spent three years studying and developing my own technique. When I was 28, my work was chosen to be exhibited in a government exhibit
Music, ballet-especially dances that I have choreographed myself just for the fun of it - the aesthetics of the tea ceremony and graphic design are all things that interest me and have influenced my work. As an artist, I have developed the following principles which are not necessarily very rigid.
ordinary efforts one can only achieve ordinary results.
-One can never leave basic technique behind.
-There is nothing as easy as one's own work. I cannot but respect the work of
others which seems so much more difficult than mine.
-There is no such thing as true originality, since all objects of beauty are, in
one way or another, a form of nature.
In the Orient conventional bamboo craft has been limited to flower baskets,
but I have not been content to confine my work in this way and have ventured
out to create receptacles such as serving dishes, decorative plates, room dividers
or screens, and other accessories. These creations have all been ''still"
In my collaborative work with Issey Miyake I have for the first time been able to explore the art of movement through the making of costumes. I found it a particular challenge to create a receptacle for the human body.
As for my future work, I would like to use cloth, leather, bamboo and rattan
to further explorer the evolution of movement and the reaching of harmony through
the use of centrifuga1 force. I have many ideas and visions. But when it comes
to actually creating, one has to start from existing skills and a given environment.
My advice to young craftsmen is something I constantly repeat to myself. It is most important to be trained 120 percent in basic skills. If the craftsman lacks basic technique, the end product gives the impression of just barely being finished and turns away the souls of the viewers. Only those pieces of art that abound in surplus