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Keiji Takata: creator of ‘Harico Tiger’ concept art

Keiji Takata believes in creating art that embodies a unique synergy from the fusion of Japanese and international cultures.
Keiji Takata believes in creating art that embodies a unique synergy from the fusion of Japanese and international cultures.
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05 May 2024 07:05:01 GMT9
05 May 2024 07:05:01 GMT9

Amin Abbas

The traditional Japanese folk craft tiger papier-mâché toy, known as “Hariko no Tora,” which has been passed down since the Edo period (about 300 years ago), is one of the folk crafts that is gradually disappearing with the changing times.

Papier-mâché is said to have existed during the Heian period (around 710 AD) in Japan. The tiger is a legendary creature that walks a thousand miles a day and is said to always return to its roost, and the stability of its return symbolizes good luck.

In the Edo period (around 1603 AD), paper tigers began to be used as gifts for boys’ first annual festivals. This gift was a symbol of auspicious local toys that wished for healthy growth and career advancement, just like a tiger.

Even now, it is widely used as an item for praying for health and success, for traffic safety, and for warding off evil in celebrations of the first festivals and new beginnings in life. The tiger, which is very popular in this way, is an animal that often appears in “UKIYO-E” and Japanese paintings since the Edo period. A tiger full of vitality is also drawn in the later paintings of the famous Katsushika Hokusai.

Exclusively to Arab News Japan, Keiji Takata shared his inspiration for contemporary art: “In order to pass on the 300-year-old Japanese folk craft of paper tigers to the future, I, Keiji Takada, who lives in the modern age, started this project to deliver new discoveries in folk crafts by painting them in my own way.”

Keiji Takata Inspired by the low-blow art that originated on the West Coast of the United States, he learned the pin-stripe technique of hand-painting cars and motorcycles using a special brush. He established JETWRENCH ArtStudio in 2000.

Since 2003, he has pursued the possibilities of art through many overseas activities such as the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Finland, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Australia.

In 2022, he encountered a “Papier Tiger” and created a new concept art work “Harico Tiger”.

“Harico Tiger” is a collection of art that loves the “papier-mâché tiger” and celebrates its strength and beauty in a new way. While the elements of colors, pinstripes, bones, POP, lettering, and monsters have their own individuality, they share the common goal of conveying the original power and charm of the “papier-mâché tiger” to the next generation.

Up to now, many people have responded to the new art at the “HARICO TIGER” exhibition. I believe that this is because “HARICO TIGER” reminds people of the strength and courage of the tiger, and at the same time makes them feel the expansion of the possibilities of art.

“Papier-mâché tiger” has been valued as a lucky charm and amulet since ancient times, and “HARICO TIGER” respects that tradition. It is a work that resonates with contemporary sensibilities by creating new interpretations and expressions with the power of art. “HARICO TIGER” promises to become a symbol of a new era while honoring the tradition of “papier-mâché tiger”, Takata said.

In 2023, he received the “Dynamic Contemporary Artist Award” at the “11th Dynamic Contemporary Artists Exhibition” held at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum. He believes in creating art that embodies a unique synergy from the fusion of Japanese and international cultures. His commitment to using brushes for painting and creating beautiful hand-drawn lines is a testament to his artistic philosophy.

About the challenges that she faced during his career, Takata said:” There are few successors to the producers who produce the HARICO TIGER bodies, so I feel the importance of passing on the culture early before it is lost”.

About the most inspirational thing from Japanese culture that she has adapted into her daily life, Takata said:” I was inspired by the very lives of people who coexist with nature and pass on old things. I incorporated that spirit into my daily life”.

Airi Hara was one of the Japanese artists who were invited to World Art Dubai 2024 event, he was very pleased to meet with many people at the event who were kind and friendly. he said:” This is my first visit to the UAE. I feel like a new culture is being born from a mix of different people”.

Regarding his upcoming projects in the near future, Takata said:” I want to be more active overseas in the future and share my art and my thoughts with people.”.

About her recommendations for those who wants to learn about Japanese contemporary art, Takata said:” Feel the nature and get inspiration from nature”.

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