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Artist Profile
Artist Profile

Tosaiga artist

草場 一壽

Kusaba was born in Saga prefecture in 1960.
From an early age, he grew up with a strong interest in "life" such as animals and nature.

Saga is where one of the Japanese traditional ceramic arts named Arita ware, whose history goes back to the 17th century, has flourished. Except for 5 years until finishing junior high, Kusaba spent most of his childhood and youth at his homeland village, Takeo city, which is famous for Arita ware along with the neighboring Arita Town. Impressed by the traditional techniques of the local industry, he got the desire to create a brand new art form utilizing the Arita ware’s 400 year of traditions.

Kusaba knocked on many doors of potters sharing his vision of the ceramic painting to be rejected as a foolhardy undertaking. However, his belief that "painting a picture on porcelain would create an unprecedented brilliance and beauty" became stronger and stronger. Finally, Yuki Hayama, a ceramicist who was already famous for his precise and delicate painting, welcomed Kusaba’s idea as innovative and worth trying, and let him begin the study of “Tosaiga” in 1987.

In 1990, after trial and error, he established a new technique of repeating painting and firing. Since then, he has continued his research in search of deeper and more beautiful colors and brilliance, and the pottery painting "Ceramic Painting" was born as an original art.

In 2011, he created a firing technique in which the color changes depending on the viewing angle, and produced the ceramic painting "Time is Now". Since then, this work has become his masterpiece of Kusaba.

Even now, more than 30 years after creating "Ceramic Painting", he continues to evolve as an artist, driven by his endless passion for expressing "life" as Kusaba's original art.


  • In 1987 Started researching for new expression, Tosaiga, in Arita, Saga Prefecture
  • In 1990 Founded an atelier to study and establish new techniques to realize more delicate and beautiful colors by repeating painting and firing
  • In 1992 Created Japan’s largest ceramic mural, a 20-meter scale "Chinju no Mori"
  • In 1996 Started cultural exchanges with the Dunhuang Art Academy in China.Was introduced on NHK TV “Living with Fire”Tosaiga piece "I remember you" was adopted as a poster for a movie "Wings of Human"
  • In 1998 Exhibited at the Asian Crafts Exhibition.Visited Dunhuang Mogao Caves, Western Thousand Buddha Caves, and Yulin Caves in China to inspect murals and statues that are closed to public
  • In 2001 Wrote columns for a local newspaper for a year
  • In 2002 Tosaiga “Mizu no Bosatsu” was displayed in the training room of Seattle Mariners in the United States
  • In 2004 Opened a Tosaiga Gallery in Takeo City, Saga Prefecture
  • In 2005 Released a picture book "Nuchinugusuji -Festival of Life-". Since then, the cumulative total of 5 series has exceeded 450,000 copies, making it an exceptional long bestseller for a picture book. Nuchinugusuji is still being aired on NHK E-Tele "TV Picture Book".
  • In 2006 Presented "Daichowa (Great Harmony)" to the President of Mongolia
  • In 2008 Picture book "Festival of Life" won the national kindergarten "Picture Book Grand Prize"
  • In 2009 Published a Tosaiga collection, “Kannonriki Card”. The picture book "Festival of Life" was selected as a representative of Japanese works at the Bologna International Children's Literature Festival.
  • In 2011 Held a hospital art exhibition at Kanazawa Medical University. Published "Heian" and "Toki ha Ima", unprecedented Tosaiga pieces that shine in diverse colors depending on the viewing angle
  • In 2012 Supervised the construction of the ossuary, a prayer space with the theme of "life", as a new attempt of Tosaiga. Directed a documentary film "the Earth is a Classroom"
  • In 2013 Provided Tosaiga "Heian" and "Tohsui" for a movie "Strawberry Night -Theatrical Version-". Dedicated a Tosaiga special piece "Dainichi Nyorai -Kongokai-" to Shiundoh in Fukusei-ji Temple, Wakayama Prefecture
  • In 2014 Renovated and reopen Saga Gallery at the 25th anniversary of the atelier opening
  • In 2016 Held a solo exhibition at a World Heritage Site, Toji Temple, the head temple of the Shingon Buddhism for the first time
  • In 2017 Utilized the research of Persian Raster for the creation of Tosaiga works
  • In 2018 4 out of 5 works of the picture book “Festival of Life” series were adopted as textbooks for morality subject in elementary school curriculum. Opened a gallery “龗 GINZA OKAMI” in Ginza 5-chome to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Tosaiga
  • In 2020 Produced a new Tosaiga series "Sparkling Glaze" on the 60th birthday