March 27, 2019 2 min read 0 Comments

The wonderful world of the yokai, spirits and deities

He draws Yokai, Spirits and deities in the deep mountains. His atelier is built in the marginal village in Tohoku. Fear, awe, solemnity, mystery, eeriness. Ominousness and divinity. His world is so alluring and captivating that you can’t take your eyes off.

Kaneko Tomiyuki was born in Saitama prefecture, 1978. Since childhood, he has been particularly interested in Japanese folklore and the spiritual world. Attracted by the atmosphere of Japan’s Tōhoku region, he studied Nihonga (Japanese-style painting) at Tōhoku University of Art and Design. After he completed his study, he continued to gaze into the deepest depths of phantoms and deities, and to manifest them within the world of visual depiction.

In 2015 under the aegis of the Program of Overseas Study for Upcoming Artists organized by the Japanese Government’s Agency for Cultural Affairs, he resided in Siem Reap, Cambodia, best known for the Angkor Wat temple. There he was exposed to figurative art in Buddhism, Hinduism, and animism.

He believes that the stratum of unconsciousness (Manas-vijnana which means the seventh stratum of the eight within the world of Yogacara in Sanskrit) is the origin of “evil” in everyday life, beginning with yokais and many other evil creatures. “Manas-vijnana”, the seventh stratum has the unique feature of human and the unconscious emotion of attachment. It is always around us and constantly puts us into trickery. However, this unconscious emotion of attachment is what makes humans human. The human’s strength to struggle is where all art is created, and by intercrossing with localized imagination it has formed as the yokai.

He has held solo exhibitions since 2006 at the Kamiyama City Sports and Cultural Center, Tokyo Takashimaya Art Gallery, and Mizuma Action. In addition, he has been included in group exhibitions since 2003 at AXIS Gallery, The Sato Museum of Art, Total Museum, Tokyo Takashimaya Art Gallery, The Niigata Bandaijima Art Museum and the Hachinohe City Museum of Art. His work was used as the main visual image for the National Art Center’s highly acclaimed “DOMANI” exhibition.