To celebrate the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen, lacquer artist Goichi Mitani, 95, a resident of Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, and a member of the Japan Art Academy, donated “Sora, Tori, Hoshi” (Sky, bird, star), a lacquer artwork made using the Wajima-nuri technique, to JR West’s Kanazawa branch. The branch has it on display in the stationmaster’s reception room, located under the Shinkansen platforms at Kanazawa Station.
The artwork is 85 centimeters high and 121 centimeters wide. The work uses gold dust, platinum foil and the subtle colors of overlapping layers of lacquer to depict birds in flight. It was exhibited at the Japan Fine Arts Exhibition in 2009. Mitani offered the donation when he received an interview for a JR in-house magazine.
Mitani says the donated work is one of his favorites among the works he has submitted every year to the Japan Fine Arts Exhibition. “I chose this because the flapping of the birds’ wings matches [the opening of the Shinkansen line],” he said. “I want people to enjoy the splendor of Wajima lacquer and realize how beautiful the product is, as it can express things as much as drawings can.”
During a meeting in the stationmaster’s reception room with Mitani, Masashi Nonaka, head of the Kanazawa branch, thanked him, saying: “[The room] had looked bare. Decorating the room with this work will make it pleasing to the eye of visitors.”