Shuji Nakagawa is a traditional craftsman of Japanese woodwork and a contemporary artist. In Shiga, on the shores of Lake Biwa, he runs one of two ‘Nakagawa Mokkougei‘ studios in Japan. The other studio in Kyoto is run by his Father, Kiyotsugu Nakagawa, who in 2001 was certified as a Living National Treasure.
As much a woodworker as an artist, Shuji’s works appear in permanent museum collections across the world, including the V&A London and Musee des Arts Decoratifs Paris.
His studio Nakagawa Mokkougei, represents the tradition of Kyoto woodcrafting where time honoured skills are passed from Father to Son. The company prides itself on its wooden buckets (ki-oke), which are handcrafted using a technique developed 700 years ago.
During the Edo period, households used wooden buckets for bathing rituals and for storing rice and miso. Today, these buckets are still as relevant as ever and used for a variety of purposes, such as champagne coolers, bathtubs and as beautiful objects for everyday life.
Shuji is the third generation of woodwork in his family and studied under his father. Born in Kyoto in 1968, he graduated from Kyoto Seika University (sculpture) and started woodwork in his Father’s studio.
Biography – Shuji Nakagawa
1968 Born in Kyoto
1992 Graduated from Kyoto Seika University, started woodwork in his Father’s studio
2001-05 Teaching at Kyoto University of the Arts
2003 Opened own studio in Shiga ‘Nakagawa Mokkougei’
2010 Created official champagne cooler for Dom Perignon
2012 Exhibited at Maison & Object (Paris)
2015 Solo exhibition (L’espirit D’artisan / Paris)
2016-17 Ki-Oke Stool becomes a permanent collection of V&A museum (London) and Musee des Arts Decoratifs (Paris).
2017 Finalist to Loewe Foundation Craft Prize