On view as a part of IMAYŌ: JAPAN’S NEW TRADITIONISTS at

The Art Gallery at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
October 2 – December 2, 2016
Honolulu Museum of Art
October 13, 2016 – January 8, 2017


The figural artwork of sculptor Tanada Kōji may seem a world apart from the kind of traditional Buddhist icons crafted deep in Japan’s past, but in fact there are shared aspects between these two disparate types of sculpture. Tanada uses the same technique favored by Buddhist sculptors in Japan from the 6th through the 9th centuries, known as ichiboku-zukuri or “one-block carving,” and in both ancient and Tanada’s more recent examples of this methods, willowy profiles for the figures, as the sculptor follows the sinuously curving line of the natural trunks from which the sculpture is hewn. Tanada has made a long and careful study of Buddhist wooden sculpture in Japan, including its various styles as well as methods, tools, and techniques of construction. Tanada’s motivations are not religious, and he prefers to rely on a purely personal iconography tinged by the popular culture of his own time.

more on TANADA

Elder Sister of Girl from the Mountain, 2016 (detail)
paint on wood, silver leaf
44.5 x 31 x 21 cm