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


ISHII Tōru is a specialist in itome (“fine-line”) yūzen, invented in the 18th century by silk producers of Kyoto’s Nishijin textile district in order to create exquisitely colorful and complex hand-painted designs of birds, flowers, figures, and landscapes on kimono robes and obi sashes. Ishii uses his technical mastery of itome yūzen to evoke colorful images of 21st century Japan, such as convenience stores, instant noodle packaging, and Tokyo Tower, spliced with traditional icons of pre-modern Japanese culture, such as samurai, Kabuki actors, and Mount Fuji. Ishii’s art sympathizes with the tendency of contemporary Japanese to view their own past with equal measures of nostalgia and alienation, and adds value and contemporary relevance to the historically rich yūzen dyeing tradition.

more on ISHII

On the Ticket Barrier, 2013
dyed silk
101.6 x 213.4 cm