A cafe owner whose business had suffered tremendous damage from the 2018 Japan Floods in western Japan had been working hard for the community, including providing rice balls at soup kitchens, and asked us to create a symbolic work of art for his new establishment. While the entire community had been struggling with reconstruction, I was struck by his desire to create a place where visitors could feel at home. The unique Toto Akihiko method of shifuku printing is imbued with a prayer for people’s happiness and world peace. With this in mind, he asked us to create shifuku-printed Toto Blue works for the sake of his community.
This work came out of an encounter with a kind cafe owner who brings smiles to people’s faces with food. As a person involved in craftsmanship, I respect when people work hard at creating a better society in whatever way they can.
To “be happy” is of course important, but I believe that to “make others happy” is critical to living a full life as a human being.
Karakami Artist Toto Akihiko