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As a young man Honma was a soldier in the Japanese air force. After an accident caused a loss of sight in one eye, he was forced to resign. His uncle and adopted father, the esteemed bamboo artist Honma Kazuaki had no heir so Honma, who loved to draw and work with his hands, stepped in to carry on the family's bamboo business.
On his native Sado Island, Honma is inspired by the abundant natural beauty. Bamboo provides a vehicle for expressing his passion and appreciation for the plants and animals that surround him in his daily life. He uses menya, a type of soft, pliable bamboo, that only grows on the island.
In addition to practicing karate and tea ceremony, Honma balances his devotion to his family with a commitment to community, spending much of his time as an advocate of local culture. Recently he has re-dedicated himself to developing his distinctive style, separate from his well-known father.
His work is included in the collection of the Ruth and Sherman Lee Institute for Japanese Art.
Fujitsuka's range is broad, from typical basket and vessel forms to abstract sculptures inspired by nature. Because his pieces defy neat categorization, he was for decades rejected for exhibitions in Japan. However he persisted in making the risky aesthetic choices that have won him the freedom to express his distinctive voice.
"People involved in the traditional craft group in Japan are working more on technique," he notes, "but design is more interesting to me."
After graduation from high school, Fujitsuka worked for a record producer and a company that serviced optical equipment. The rigid corporate environment didn't suit him; he longed for the opportunity to work for himself and the time to pursue astronomy, an avocation that continues to absorb him today.
In 1972, inspired by items in a bamboo shop window, he began an apprenticeship with Baba Shodo. For more than two decades he earned his living making bamboo lampshades until his work was rewarded with a Superior Prize at the Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition.
Fujitsuka has been honored with television appearances, prizes, and solo and group exhibitions in Asia, Europe, and the United States. His work is in the collections of the Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs and the Japan Foundation.
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