Inochi (Life) 2014

Inochi (Life) 2014

A Toto Blue artwork spanning over 17 meters.
It is the largest scale shifuku printing I have ever attempted to create.

If written with different kanji characters, the word “shifuku” can also be made to mean bliss. “Shi” means “to attain” and “fuku” means “good fortune.”
In other words, one can attain good fortune through shifuku printing.
I dye Japanese paper with my fingers according to my shifuku method. When Mr. Tsutsui from the Agency for Cultural Affairs named it thus, he must have thought “Soon it will bring happiness to the world.” 
My signature method combines the techniques of tarashikomi and pointillism, then follows with the dyeing and layering of thousands, even tens of thousands of shades of color while praying. The surroundings at this venue are resplendent with karakami made in this way.

For example, to dye this one paper in this one panel according to the shifuku printing method requires around 3,000 points of color.
Because there are 19 sheets like this, at 3,000 points each that’s 57,000 total dyes.
Two layers, three layers, four layers; because of the great variety of colors being layered, in one panel of four layers, that’s a total of 228,000 times dyed. Of course, it isn’t possible to count each and every piece and while working through more processes; there may be a fifth or a sixth level… and so a unique style is born. 

That’s how “Inochi (Life)” 2014 came to be—karakami born through prayers for world peace, tranquility, and happiness for the hearts of people. 

Blue is the color that weaves the world together.

This world that glows with blue, and the blue ocean
Foundation for the blue sky in the highest heights
The sparkling blue of the heavens
Is also connected to the blue of the universe
It always connects the world
The light of life

That is why the blue of Toto Blue
Is my symbol of peace, the future, and the light that shows love.

Toto Akihiko


The Beauty of Karakami: The World of Toto Akihiko
Mica Melody–400 Years in a Moment
Art exhibition

Location: Aida Mitsuo Museum of Art
Duration: Tuesday 9th September to Sunday 5th October 2014

Inochi (Life) 2014