Hello Kitty!?

Cute is cute, is cute
It must come as a bit of a surprise to be confronted by Hello Kitty on this blog.  Nevertheless, here she is.  Three of them in fact! They are the work of Takashi Wakamiya and his organisation Hikoju Makie.  Hello Kitty is rendered as a netsuke in true lacquer.

The Net informs me that the Hello Kitty character was created by Yuko Shimizu and is produced by the large Japanese toy and novelity goods company Sanrio.  The character is now designed by Yuko Yamaguchi.

These interpretations of the character represent some of Takashi’s most recent work.

The seated figure measures 40x32x23mm.  The standing ones are 42x32x23mm.

Takashi’s work with Hikoju Makie is also featured on this blog in the post Hitting the Spot—Takashi Wakamiya, dated 10th February 2015.

But why Hello Kitty?  Takashi was anxious to bring the art and craft of lacquerware to the attention of younger people, who these days may not knowingly have come into contact with items using the refined sap of the lacquer tree.

For those who have never handled a piece of lacquerware, I can only assure you that these figurines will have a touch and warmth completely unlike that of plastic.  Their presence too will be made all the more significant by the delicacy of the decoration.

As a figure owned by Sanrio, Takashi negotiated with the company for more than two years to obtain a licence to create these figures, which as Takashi so rightly says are so representative of Japan’s soft culture with an unrivalled cute or distinctively Japanese kawaii appeal.

Hello Kitty is known across the world and ranks along side Doraemon, Pokemon and characters from the Studio Ghibli animation series of movies.  There are a host of others which are not so well known but all of them have the same gentle appealing character, which is a hit with adults as much as children.

Before you start to save enough to buy one of these Hello Kitty figures, I must disappoint you.  Only three were made.  Earlier this year, they were exhibited at the Isetan Department Store in Shinjuku—one of Tokyo’s main downtown areas—and were bought by a collector of Takashi’s work.  Hello Kitty—a true ambassador of kawaii!

Photo courtesy of Takashi Wakamiya Photo © Copyright

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彦十蒔絵 Hikoju Makie
若宮隆志 Takashi Wakamiya
Address: 1-188, Kekachidaira-machi, 
                   Wajima-shi, Ishikawa, Japan 928-0093

Tel.+81-768-22-8601 FAX. +81-768-22-8651

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