When I first met Akiyamafs wood cut prints, it was in Tajimaya-Roho, one of the authentic Japanese sweet shops in Taketa, a city full of buildings with styles so nice in a traditional Japanese way.
You are also served a cup of coffee, which is made from Sensui Springs Water with the hand roasted coffee from the Hashimoto Coffee Shop in Kyoto.
The famous journalist, Tetsuya Chikushi, always drops by this shop to have a cup of his favorite coffee whenever he visits Taketa for a lecture.
When I was sitting to have a cup of coffee, I felt something that looked at me on the wall.
I was a bit surprised to see the picture of an owl.
The owl's eyes were so cute rounded eyes in the print. The picture was a hand woodblock print.
His eyes were red dots which looked as if they would protect me from all the evils or bad lucks in my whole life! What a nice whimsical touch!!


I cannot stop singing.


The more I listen to the owner of the shop about the print, the more I became attracted to it. The owner was a big fan of the woodprint artist, and continued explaining to me about his prints!!


You cannot sleep, neither can I.

This is the place where I was born.

This is my last destination.


The artist's name was Iwao Akiyama, who was born in Taketa City. He learned woodblock prints under famous Japanese artists, Shiko Munakata and Hanjiro Sakamoto. He is still turning out wonderful prints at the age of 82.
I was shown catalogues of Akiyamafs works. The one I was most attracted was a print entitled gman over water.h

Some of these prints were on the wall.
Every one of them was so alive and ready to scare bad things away. I noticed that I was feeling like a child.


Enjoy and drink my hometown water.

The sound of springs makes me so relax.

Enjoy watching the floating camel's leaves.



On the next day I returned to Tokyo and I learned that an exhibition of Akiyamafs works was being held at one of the department stores, and it was the last day. Luckily, I managed to visit the exhibition.
I did have a very good time to see the actual prints of Akiyama's works. Moreover, I had a chance to meet Toyohide Akiyama, the 3rd son of Iwao, who is also an artist. Toyohide focuses on animals.

The next week, I visited Akiyamafs workplacec.

Luckily, I was able to meet Iwao in person. He had just come back home from his extended journey to the Tohoku area. I was shown to his work place where he kept full of his wonderful prints, pictures, books, potteries and SAKE ( Japanese liquor).

Iwao wore jeans, full of white jars in his face and said to me, g Welcome!!h

We chatted about Taketa City, the birthplace of Iwao and myself, Iwaofs childhood, SAKE, exhibitions to be held not only in Japan but also in U.S.A and other countries. Time flies.. Personally, the subject I was attracted the most was gwater.h
There is an old saying: gThere are disputes in our lives and they cause all kinds of troubles. But water purifies our mind and brings peace." Really does!! When I was a child and faced a conflict or a trouble, the sound of water from a spring in our garden used to wash it away and I feltl calm and pure!!


From ancient times till now the Sensui Springs have always supplied the energy to people and to all the living things. Iwao told me that when he was young, Santoka came to Taketa City c on his way to nowhere.


The sound of springs makes me so relax....


CV of Iwao Akiyama
1921 Born in Takeda City, Oita Prefecture on the Island of Kyushu, southern Japan.
1953 Graduate of Taiheiyo Art School. After that he studied under Shiko Munakata, Teijiro Fuse and Hanjiro Sakamoto.
1966 First exhibition at the College of Women's Association of Japan (CWAJ) Print Show. Since then he has exhibited at this Show every year; the year 2002 was his 36th year at the CWAJ Show.
1977 Group Exhibition by 4 Students of Shiko Munakata.
AKIYAMA held more than 250 single-artist exhibitions in major cities of Japan, and 15 exhibitions abroad. Most recent overseas exhibitions were in San Francisco and in Seattle (2002).
Collections: National Museum of England, London
The National Museum of Scotland
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
Museum of Japanese Art, Haifa, Israel
Cincinnati Museum of Art, USA
Member of Fine Artists Association of Japan