Innovative Bamboo Basket Artist, Yonezawa Jiro-san, returns to Japan.


Almost completely unknown in the west until about 15 years ago, Japanese artists specializing in one-of-a-kind bamboo baskets have since gained a considerable international following.   I had long heard about one such artist, Yonezawa Jiro-san, and was finally able to meet him the other day, in the city of Oita.  After 17 years living in Portland,  contemporary bamboo artitst Yonezawa-san has returned to live in his native northern Kyushu.  His work was most recently part of New Bamboo: Contemporary Japanese Masters, an extraordinary exhibition at the Japan Society, New York, as well as a one-man show at the Portland Japanese Garden entitled Dream Weaver: The Bamboo Art of Yonezawa Jiro last November.  Always the innovator, Yonezawa-san does not stay with one concept for too long before itching to create something extremely different.  The three styles in the photos below clearly show great breadth in his work.

Says our mutual friend, bamboo artist and author Nancy Moore Bess of Yonezawa-san, "I thinks he sets a high, high standard for himself.  It is his combination of the traditional (that thin diagonal twill weaving is extremely difficult!!) with innovative forms and materials that keeps me coming back to his work again and again. I don't think a major basketry collection would be considered complete if it didn't contain at least one of his pieces."


Yonezawa 2

yonezawa 3


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2 thoughts on “Innovative Bamboo Basket Artist, Yonezawa Jiro-san, returns to Japan.

  1. gail rieke

    Please tell Yonezawa Jiro-san that he has a fan club in Santa Fe. We have enjoyed seeing his baskets at the Jane Sauer Gallery. He’s always been one of my favorites!

  2. linda grant

    Mora and I were lucky enough to see Yonezawa Jiro-san and Nancy Moore Bess at the Portland Japanese Garden. Last November Nancy gave a lecture on Bamboo in Japan. Yonezawa Jiro-san also spoke and the Garden had an exhibition of his exquisitely beautiful pieces. We spoke to him and what a delightful man he is. We will miss him here in Portland.