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Japanese Shadow Art Overview: Heartwarming Art of Light and Shade

Shadow art exists in many countries. It also exists in Japan and many pieces of wonderful works have been developed. Today we introduce a museum where you can see Japanese shadow art and many pieces of works that express Japan. Photo:


What is Kage-e (Shadow Art)


Shadow art uses shapes of animals, people and scenery made from paper. Light is shone on it from the back and the shadows are projected onto a screen. An expression of shadow art that is unique to Japan uses the shoji (paper screen doors) in place of a screen.

Seiji Fujishiro at work,

A representative shadow artist of Japan is the world famous Seiji Fujishiro. Born in 1924, he is currently over 90 years old; still very active and continues to express the beauty of shadow art in both Japan and overseas.


Collection of Works by Seiji Fujishiro

Seiji Fujishiro has created numerous works loved by many. His works look almost like stained glass, but in fact are made of many layers of cutout paper which adjust the amount of light that passes through. The two sides of light and shade is interesting as it almost seems to reflect the human mind; that is one of the appeals of shadow art. Here are some of the works of Seiji Fujishiro; it’s mystical and beautiful and heartwarming at the same time.  

There are dynamic masterpieces that fill the entire wall.

Some works that naturally express the story.


Some that depict a world of sumo wrestlers.

A cat wrestler, stomping,

Some that express the harmony between human and animal.


A work that depicts the site of restoration from the East Japan Earthquake in show of support.
Related: 5 Years From The Great East Japan Earthquake; We Shall Never Forget


Other commonly seen sites such as the must-have Japanese winter item kotatsu-stove and a cat. It’s a very characteristic expression of his world and makes you feel like the work is speaking out to you.


Where you can see works by Seiji Fujishiro

  • Syosenkyo Kage-e no Mori Museum (Museum of Shadowgraph in Syosenkyo), Map
  • Shirakaba Resort, Ikeno Taira Hotel, Map
  • Fujishiro Seiji Kage-e Museum, Map

Other than this, there are events held periodically all over Japan. Sometimes they can be seen even in Tokyo.


Not just an ordinary cute cat; a powerful cat like the cat sumo wrestler has its own kind of cuteness, don’t you think?

Related: Paper Cutout Kirie Artwork: A Collection of Awe Inspiring Craftsmanship

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