In America, Seiji Fujishiro is not a name you hear on a daily basis, and I had no clue who he was until we moved to Japan. In Japan, however, he is a well-known artist, using Kiri-e (cut-out art) and Kage-e (shadow art) techniques to convey whimsical scenes. Fujishiro is over 90 years old, yet still continues to hone his craft.  While there is little on the internet about his life (at least little to find in English), we were able to visit a museum filled with his artwork in the district of Nasu.

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The Seiji Fujishiro museum is way off the beaten path, and visitors first walk through a campground to reach the entrance to the museum grounds. On its own, the campground had a magical feel to it, and definitely set the tone for our visit to the museum.

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Once you reach the entrance, you walk along a path surrounded by beautiful trees and iconic Fujishiro figures made of metal. There were also a few different ponds, and a chapel that had stained glass windows created by Seiji Fujishiro himself.

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The stained glass windows in the chapel had breathtaking images of Noah’s Ark and the crucifixion, and these Christian themes continued into the museum as well.

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Finally, the front of the museum:

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Inside the Museum:

Unfortunately, photography was not allowed inside the museum, but I will say that this was one of the most unique art galleries I’ve ever been to. The gallery is dark, lit only by the backlights that enhance the different art pieces on display. Combining bright colors with bold black cutouts, Fujishiro’s art literally pops off the page. Some of his bigger pieces utilized water and mirrors, creating the illusion that the scene went on for miles and miles, and a few depicted the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated Japan in 2011. A long hallway presented a timeline of his life with a few self-portrait paintings.

mermaid and cat

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animal parade

Along with his art, there was also a second level that showed pictures of what his studio looks like as well as an old work desk and chair. One of the pictures showed him working on a huge piece of paper, and right beside him was a cat.

The museum also has a cafe and a souvenir shop, and visitors can purchase artwork (framed and unframed), calendars, postcards, and other unique items that display the beautiful work of Seiji Fujishiro.

Planning Information:

Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., closed on Tuesdays

Pricing: ¥1,600 (General), ¥1,100 (Student Price), ¥1,200 (92 years of age or older, set according to the age of Seiji Fujishiro)

Address: 203 Yumoto, Nasu-gun, Nasu-machi 325-0301,Tochigi Prefecture

Phone: +81 287-74-2581

*For groups of 10 or more people, a reservation must be made in advance.*

 

Final Thoughts
If you ever find yourself in Nasu, I would definitely recommend visiting this museum. While it’s small and might be difficult to find if I went on my own, I left feeling encouraged and inspired in my faith. I wanted to go back home and draw, paint, and create something new. His artwork is like none other, and anyone who appreciates whimsicality will be able to appreciate Fujishiro’s creations.