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Goin’ Japanesque!

Active at 94 Years Old! Japanese Dyeing Craftsman Samiro Yunoki’s Works

Do you adorn walls of your home with paintings? For those who live abroad, it may natural to bring in arts into your rooms. But young generations in Japan unfortunately rarely purchase paintings for their homes. However, fabrics are different; the younger generations have started picking up fabrics for their homes.


About Samiro Yunoki


Samiro Yunoki is a Japanese craftsman and he entered the world of stencil dyeing after his encounter with works of Keisuke Serizawa. He is 94 years old this year, yet still actively producing new works.

Writer’s Photo: “Toko to Gugu to Kiki” Written by Ado Murayama and illustrated by Samiro Yunoki

Animals are drawn so lively in his illustrations that I feel he doesn’t need to be described as a dyeing craftsman any more. Official Website

Writer’s Photo: Fabrics on the wall are all designed by Samiro Yunoki.

These works start with hand-woven fabrics. After going through the process of stencil dyeing by a craftsman one by one, the fabrics acquire a unique feeling.

Writer’s Photo: Stencil-dyed noren curtain by Samiro Yunoki over Mexican crafts

This work is also created by stencil-dyeing hand-woven fabric and it is a noren (short curtain to block view, often hung at the kitchen doorway). Among the works created by Samiro Yunoki, the color and design of this work has a relatively traditional atmosphere.


Decorate Your Walls with Fabrics

Writer’s Photo: Center: Hand-woven fabric with stencil dyeing, designed by Samiro Yunoki

The four kinds of fabrics on the sides clearly emanate the light-heartedness, a characteristic of Yunoki art. These fabrics are 40cm wide, machine-woven and dyed with silk screen. These fabrics are available for purchase in your desired length between 2m and 4m. There are more colors and patterns in addition to these.

I think these fabrics are easy for young generations to pick up, because they can purchase in the length they need for their walls or use them as table runners. Because fabrics are easy to handle, they can be used in many different ways.


Almost Like Contemporary Art

Samiro Yunoki’s textile works were exhibited at Guimet Museum in Paris, France in 2014, as “La Danse des Formes – Textiles de Samiro Yunoki”. The reaction to the exhibition at the time appears to mean that his designs were recognized as art rather than being appreciated as a traditional Japanese craft. It may be more appropriate to call his free-spirited works as contemporary art rather than hand-crafts.

Writer’s Photo

I wondered if I have any Yunoki works at home, and found them: I bought these uchiwa or fans some 15 years ago, and they are made with stencil-dyed Japanese paper.


Latest Exhibitions of Samiro Yunoki

Writer’s Photo: Exhibition poster at “IDEE SHOP” in Tokyo Jiyugaoka, Map

“New Lithographs by Samiro Yunoki” is open from November 10 through December 5, 2016. This exhibition displays his lithographs produced at the historic studio “Idem Paris” where Picasso and Matisse also created their works. All his works are serially numbered, and only limited quantity is available for sale.

Writer’s Photo: Exhibition poster at “Craft Space WA” in Tokyo Shibuya, MapOfficial Website

From November 20 to December 4 2016, “Glass Paintings by Samiro Yunoki ~ Omoi” is scheduled to be held. His still-life is drawn as if it is playing rhythms. These are hand-drawn on glass, and they all are bona-fide one and only works. This time seasonally designed fabrics for obi sash are also to be displayed, and I heard it is a rare opportunity not to miss. 


This time we introduced the 94-year-old artist Samiro Yunoki, as two exhibitions in Tokyo offer you a chance to actually see his works. He has also drawn many illustrations for books, thus a lot of people might have seen his works without recognizing them as his. I will be delighted if it gives you an opportunity to start bringing art more closely into your daily life, by watching his real works at the exhibitions.

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About the author

I have worked in a museum as a curator and I specialize is in craft products. I have grown up in the city, but now enjoy the country life. From an environment rich in nature, I will report to you on seasonal events and customs of Japan, foods and how to make them. I look forward to introducing special moments in Japan that you will not see in ordinary guidebooks.

View all articles by Kunie