Profile|日本語 - Japanese


The resounding beat of Taiko drums and the charming melodies of Japanese bamboo flutes make me feel at peace. I get these same feelings from watching Japanese traditional Matsuri festivals as well as reading the stories of the Japanese author Miyazawa Kenji. These things act as a bridge between humans and nature. I try to bring out these same feelings in my woodblock prints. I get great joy from seeing these feelings of tranquility inspired in others when viewing my artwork.


The World of Japanese Matsuri Festivals

There are many different traditional Matsuri festivals celebrated around Japan. Many Matsuri are dedicated to local gods who inhabit natural phenomenon such as rivers, mountains and trees. Some Matsuri are celebrated in different forms by all Japanese peoples, such as the Harvest Festival, O-bon (A festival honoring the Spirits of the Dead). An important part of many Matsuri celebrations is dancing. These festivals have been practiced by the Japanese people for generations but have been fading away in recent years as Japanese culture changes. I have a great respect for the traditions that these local festivals represent and it is my lifework to help preserve them through my woodblock prints.

Miyazawa Kenji

The World of the Author Miyazawa Kenji

The children’s author Miyazawa Kenji said “Even if we do not have rock candy, we can eat the transparent wind, and we can drink the pink morning sun.” Kenji wanted his stories to be pure and beneficial like the wind and sun. I try to make my woodblock prints with the same standards.



Many small woodblock prints for many small wildflowers.
These small prints are often used for “Karuta” a Japanese card game adapted from European tarot cards. I started making Karuta as a way of teaching my children the names of many different flowers. On the back of the cards is a poem or other written explanation of the picture on the front. The game is played by matching the words with the picture.


Other Themes / Landscapes

Within the world of Japanese woodblock prints, there has been a long tradition of landscape prints by Ukiyo-e artists such as Hokusai and Hiroshige. Created from the sketches in my journals from my travels around Japan, I have made many landscape woodblock prints as my travel memories.

Copyright 2008 Itow Takumi - Design by Matthew Messmer