Born in Kyoto, I took over the printing company called KARAFUNEYA, which my grandfather had formed to help spread the culture he was exposed to through interactions with the literati and artists who were active around 100 years ago. This blessed me with the opportunity to mingle with many people involved in art and creativity.

Particularly my encounters with Kogei artists in Kyoto provided a deep relationship with traditional Japanese culture, including the tea ceremony, flower arranging, and the incense ceremony. This has reaffirmed for me the magnificence and splendor Kyoto Art as it remains based in tradition and yet continues to fuse with modern influences. My experiences brought me to want to share this wonderful artwork with people around the world, which is why I established the Kogei Art KYOTO website.

While the development of AI is starting to change the world of creativity, Kogei artists make art using superior handwork abilities with materials firmly based in tradition to produce artwork with a sense of beauty grown out of a long history of creativity. This unparalleled art of human abilities is the antithesis to digital technology, and it represents a universal beauty that knows no distinction between East and West. It would bring me great joy to share this appreciation of Kyoto Kogei art through our Kogei Art KYOTO website.

Takeshi Horio, president and representative director


KARAFUNEYA is a printing company in Kyoto that was founded in 1921. We started business doing woodblock and letterpress printing, but we have actively introduced information technology and, along with printing, we offer one-stop services that included building websites, electronic commerse systems, electronic books, and digital catalogs in our continuing efforts to meet the evolving needs of our customers. Now we have used the knowhow and networks we acquired over the years to start Kogei Art KYOTO as a new line of business. We felt it was our mission to spread information on the world of Kogei as art to create a market for this work and the pass on the traditional world of Kyoto Kogei art to the next generation.

Origin of “KARAFUNEYA”

Woodblock print by Yumeji

It is said that the name KARAFUNEYA was given to our first president Horio Kotaro by Takehisa Yumeji, a very popular artist and graphic designer at the time and a friend of Kotaro. The name comes from a shop name in a painting by Yumeji. In fact, there are several paintings by Yumeji that say “KARAFUNEYA” on Andon lamps or signboards. Also, people familiar with publishing and printing in that period say that the ship mark that has been used by the company since its founding was very likely designed by Yumeji.

Woodblock print by Yumeji: “KARAFUNEYA” (published: Minatoya)




505 Higashimonzen-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8345, Japan

Website: https://karafuneya.com/