Kogei Artist Vol.6

Lacquer Artist

Kenji Omachi

For over 40 years I have worked to integrate traditional techniques with various materials.

As I worked to integrate new materials, I discovered a synthetic opal material called Kyoto Opal that was developed by Kyocera using leading-edge technology.

One lacquerware technique inlays the nacreous layer, or mother of pearl, found in shells to create greater beauty.

Kenji Omachi
Kenji Omachi
Kenji Omachi

I decided to use the synthetic Kyoto Opal instead of natural materials, such as mother of pearl or egg shells, and found it created an unexpected effect.

Normally, inlaid mother of pearl sparkles from only one direction, but when I used Kyoto Opal, it sparkled from various angles.

By integrating this new material, Kyoto Opal, I devised a new lacquerware technique I call Saikiko (“colored luminescence”).

Kenji Omachi
Kenji Omachi

The base for this box was formed using a layering 3D printer.

I use the Saikiko technique on 3D-printed bases like this one to create a new type of modern artwork that goes against preconceived ideas in lacquerware to shine light on the future of traditional Kogei art.

Kenji Omachi

Lacquer Artist

Kenji Omachi

Kenji Omachi is highly skilled in traditional techniques using lacquer, such as Maki-e. In his search for new methods of expression, he discovered and fell in love with Kyoto Opal, a man-made gem developed by the KYOCERA company. He remains a pioneer in inlaying this new material, which is used in the same way as inlaid mother of pearl.

Kenji Omachi
Nitten Exhibition, Kyoten Exhibition (Mayor's Award in 1985), All Kansai Art Exhibition (Sekiten Award in 1913)
Honorable mention at Kyoto Kogei Association Exhibition
Lecturer for Lacquer Art Course at Miyako Gijuku Kyoto Municipal Institute of Industrial Research
Awarded scholarship from The Gen-Foundation Foundation; Studied in England and France
Kyoto Art and Kogei Exhibition "Twelve Lacquer Messages from Kyoto"
Received Art Honorable Mention at Heiwado Foundation Art Exhibition for Emerging Artists; received Kyoto Kogei Award; received Kyoto Newspaper Award at 18th Arts and Crafts SOKO-Kai Association Exhibition in Kyoto, Japan
Received Scholarship Award from The Gen-Foundation Foundation; Went on London and Shanghai study tour; participated in Kyoto Design Awards Exhibition in former main building of Kyoto Prefectural Government
Kenji Omachi Maki-e Exhibition "Colored Brilliance" at Mitsukoshi Department Store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo; Gold prize in men's tea ceremony category ( 'dandy ' category) at Modern Tea Ceremony Awards exhibition; Kenji Omachi exhibition "Colored Brilliance" at Kyocera Museum of Art, Tokyo
Appeared in "Traditions for the Future, Kenji Omachi Maki-e Artist" on Theater Television; participated in "Encounter of Japanese Traditional Crafts and Design" in Japanese Embassy in Singapore, JCC
Received Kyoto Prefectural Governor's Award and Honorable Mention at 10th Kyoto Culture Venture Competition; gave lecture at International Kyoto Studies Seminar, Faculty of Letters in Kyoto Prefectural University entitled "New Beauty Created by Tradition & Technology: The Story of Kyoto in the 150th Year of Meiji Era"; held Kenji Omachi Photo Exhibition entitled "Maki-e Artist 's Perspective -COLORATION-" in Gallery Japanesque Museum of Photography, Kyoto
Held Kenji Omachi Photo Exhibition entitled "Maki-e Artist 's Perspective -CONTRAST-" in Gallery Japanesque Museum of Photography, Kyoto