Aritst Biographies

Junichi Arai
Junichi Arai, born 1932, Gumma
Since 1950 Arai has been working in some aspect of the textile industry, developing new manufacturing processes. In 1984 he co-founded Nuno Corporation, a company and retail store that produces and sells innovative functional fabrics. He has taught textile workshops all over the world, and his works are included in the collections of major museums. He currently teaches at Otsuka Textile Design Institute.
Bridgestone Metalpha Corporation
Bridgestone Metalpha Corporation, established 1970, Tochigi
Originally a joint venture with Bridgestone Tire and N.V. Bekaert S.A. in 1969, it became a separate company in 1994. Their material Alphatex™, introduced in 1996, has been included in exhibitions and fashion shows and has been the medium for artworks by Junichi Arai, Peter Collingwood, and Sheila Hicks.
Sheila Hicks, born 1934, Hastings, Nebraska
Lives in Paris since 1964. Education: Yale University
In addition to the United States and Europe, Hicks has designed and made textiles in India, Morocco, Chile, and has worked in Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Since 1989 she has realized a number of large-scale textile art commissions in Japan, and in 1996 she became a consultant for a new stainless-steel fiber development at Bridgestone Metalpha Corporation.

Inoue Pleats Company, Ltd.
Inoue Pleats Company, Ltd., established 1953, Fukui
Initially a trading company, Inoue Pleats began pleats development in 1943. Since the emergence of acetate materials in 1953, their pleats process, which uses thermoplasticity, has been in operation. They have a retail store, Pleeets, in Tokyo.
Akiko Ishigaki, born 1938, Okinawa
Education: Women's Junior College of Fine Arts, Tokyo
Ishigaki studied traditional Okinawan dyeing and weaving with Fukumi Shimura, a "Living National Treasure," in 1970 and has been continually researching Okinawan plants for dyestuffs. In 1997 she made costumes for the touring performances of Yaeyama Traditional Dance and Textiles.

Akihiro Kaneko, born 1961, Gumma
Education: Rhode Island School of Design
In addition to designing for his family's mill, Kaneko Orimono, Kaneko has participated in several textile competitions and group exhibitions in Japan in the last several years. He works often with other designers such as Junichi Arai and Hideko Takahashi.

Yoshihiro Kimura
Yoshihiro Kimura, born 1947, Kyoto
Education: Toyama University
After graduating Kimura worked in his father's textile business which would later specialize in flock printing. They have diversified to include other printing techniques using resin and pigment. He has worked with such well-known designers as Kansai Yamamoto and Issey Miyake.

Naomi Kobayashi, born 1945, Tokyo
Education: Musashino Art University, Tokyo
Since 1969 Kobayashi has participated in many solo and group exhibitions all over the world, including the International Biennale of Tapestry in Lausanne, Switzerland. A major figure in textile arts, her work is included in such collections as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, and The Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Jürgen Lehl, born 1944, Poland. Lives in Japan since 1971
After working in France between 1962 and 1967, Lehl moved to Japan and founded Jürgen Lehl Co., in 1972. This company designs and sells women's and men's clothing, accessories, and jewelry. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, most recently in 1997, at the Museum für Angewandte Kunst, in Cologne, Germany.
Chiaki Maki, born 1960, Toyama
Education: Musashino Art University, Tokyo; Rhode Island School of Design
Maki has been working with Indian weavers in New Delhi since 1989. She established Maki Textile Studio in 1990 and opened a retail store in 1996 in Tokyo. Her work has been included in exhibitions in Israel, Japan, and India.

Kaori Maki, born 1962, Toyama
Education: Rhode Island School of Design
Maki worked for Jack Lenor Larsen in 1988 and later with other textile manufacturers before joining Maki Textile Studio in 1992. Her work has been exhibited in galleries in Japan and Germany.

Makiko Minagawa, born Kyoto
Education: Kyoto City University of Art
Minagawa was an independent designer before joining Miyake Design Studio in 1971, where she has worked ever since as its textile director. In 1989, Texture, a compilation of her work over a seventeen-year period, was published by Kodansha. She has been distinguished in the last few years with many fashion and design awards and a solo exhibition in Japan.

Osamu Mita
Osamu Mita, born 1963, Gumma
Education: Kokugakuin University
Mita is the third-generation textile producer at Mitasho, which produces women's apparel fabrics. He has worked at Yohji Yamamoto's studio and continues to work with Yamamoto and other designers.

Issey Miyake
Issey Miyake, born 1938, Hiroshima
Education: Tama Art University
Since presenting his first collection in 1963, Miyake has been one of the most influential voices of fashion. He established Miyake Design Studio in 1970 after studying in Paris and New York. In 1973 he presented his collections in Paris for the first time and continues to show there biannually. His work has been featured in many exhibitions and included in major museum collections all over the world.

Eiji Miyamoto, born 1948, Tokyo
Education: Hosei University
Since joining his father's company in 1975, Miyamoto has been working independently and with renowned designers such as Issey Miyake. He has participated in several solo and group exhibitions including Japanese Design: A Survey Since 1950 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1994.

Yuh Okano, born 1965, Tokyo
Education: Rhode Island School of Design
Okano has participated in solo and group exhibitions and participated in the International Shibori Conference in India in 1997. She is currently an instructor of textile fiber technique at the Otsuka Textile Design Institute.

Keiji Otani, born 1967, Hyogo
Education: Royal College of Art; Goldsmiths' College, University of London
In 1995-96 Otani worked with designer Jack Lenor Larsen and is currently a clothing and textile designer for Nuno Coporation.

Sakase Adtech Co., Ltd., established 1988, Fukui
Since its founding by the Sakai brothers, Ryoji and Yoshiharu, Sakase has been researching and selling new materials. Their clients are found all over the world and range from aerospace industries to sporting goods manufacturers.
Hiroyuki Shindo
Hiroyuki Shindo, born 1941, Tokyo
Education: Kyoto City University of Art
Shindo's work has been included in many exhibitions worldwide during the past twenty years, most recently in France, India, and Israel. Major museums such as the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; The Art Institute of Chicago; Cleveland Museum of Art; and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, have collected his work. Since 1997 he has been a professor in and head of the textile department at the Kyoto College of Art.

Reiko Sudo
Reiko Sudo, born 1953, Ibaragi
Education: Musashino Art University, Tokyo
In 1984, Sudo was one of the founders of Nuno Corporation, a company and retail store that produces and sells innovative functional fabrics. Her work has been shown worldwide, with exhibitions in the United States, India, and Israel. Her work is in collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York.

Toshiko Taira, born 1921, Okinawa
Taira was taught the traditional basho-fu technique by her mother Rana Taira. She studied general weaving under Kichinusuke Tonomura in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture. She opened her basho-fu workshop in 1948 and since then has had exhibitions in Japan, Hawaii, and Washington.
Hideko Takahashi, born 1950, Tokyo
Education: Otsuka Textile Design Institute
Takahashi has had several solo exhibitions in Japan and Australia, and her work is included in the Powerhouse Museum in Australia. Since 1988 she has also been a part-time lecturer at the Otsuka Textile Design Institute.

Chiyoko Tanaka
Chiyoko Tanaka, born 1941, Tokyo
Education: Kyoto City University of Art
Tanaka has participated in many exhibitions all over the world, and her work is included in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

Jun Tomita
Jun Tomita, born 1951, Toyama
Education: The West Surrey College of Art and Design
Tomita has participated in exhibitions all over the world and is included in collections such as the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; The Victoria & Albert Museum, London; and the Denver Art Museum. He has taught at the Kyoto College of Art, and his work is on permanent display at the renowned Tawaraya Ryokan in Kyoto.

Toray Industries, Inc.
Toray Industries, Inc., established 1926, Tokyo
Toray has expanded its base of synthetic fibers and textiles to include many other fields such as plastics and chemicals, advance composite materials, pharmaceutical and medical products, construction materials, housing, and engineering.
Michiko Uehara
Michiko Uehara, born 1949, Okinawa
Uehara began weaving in 1971 under the direction of Yoshihiro Yanagi in Tokyo and returned to Okinawa three years later where she learned traditional techniques from Shizuko Oshiro. Since opening her studio in 1979 she has participated in numerous exhibitions in Japan.
Urase Co., Ltd.
Urase Co., Ltd., established 1918, Fukui
Urase Co. primarily manufactures polyester fabric with fashion, sports, medical, and industrial applications. Its research and development department, headed by Shigemi Matsuyama, is experimenting with new techniques and technologies for polyester.
Masaji Yamazaki
Masaji Yamazaki, born 1936, Fukui
Yamazaki is president of Yamazaki Vellodo Co. that specializes in the manufacturing of velvet. He has worked with many notable fashion designers and won numerous Japanese textile awards.
Koichi Yoshimura, born 1939, Fukui
Education: Kobe University Yoshimura started working for his father's company S. Yoshimura Co., Ltd., in 1966 and has collaborated with many fashion designers including Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto. Recently, he participated in the Tokyo Fashion Fair and in several textile exhibitions in Japan and India.
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