Art out of circles and lines

Izah Morales
Japanese artist Hiroko Takahashi brings together modern and traditional in her art

SIMPLICITY IS BEAUTY. Artist Hiroko Takahashi in '3 Yukatas.' All images courtesy of the Yuchengco Museum

MANILA, Philippines – Simplicity is beauty.

This is the principle that guides Japanese artist Hiroko Takahashi when she creates art out of circles and lines. 

“I want to challenge myself and let the people think of what’s beyond the products that I produce,” said Takahashi in a lecture on Japanese design at the Yuchengco Museum on November 24.

'On Purpose'

“My art is not boxed into one area,” she continued.

“I may be known as a fashion designer, an interior designer or a textile designer.”

Takahashi is known to use both modern and traditional techniques in producing her designs.


One of the traditional techniques that she employs is the Japanese dyeing method called chusen.

During the lecture, she showed a tenugui (towel-like cloth used for drying hands) that was made out of the chusen technique.

As an artist, Takahashi wants people to think of their own ways of using the tenugui, be it for the kitchen or elsewhere.


While giving the lecture, Takahashi wore a black kimono with white circles and lines — her own creation. Her kimono, a Japanese traditional costume, was far from the traditional ones we often see in movies and documentaries with floral and colorful designs. 

“Nowadays, most Japanese don’t know how to wear the kimono. I want to bring back their interest in wearing the kimono,” she said.

“Because of the influence of the western culture, Japanese products have become the ‘special’ product in stores,” Takahashi added thoughtfully.

'Hirocoledge 4 Sensu'

When asked how she sees Filipino art, Takahashi said she observed that Filipinos are very creative and resourceful when it comes to making clothes functional. 

“I noticed a driver who used another shirt to cover his head from the heat of the sun,” said Takahashi to a laughing audience.

Through her art, Takahashi wants to invoke imagination and challenge the end-users to live well even with simple things. –

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