In 2013, I finally made my decision to leave Boston, where I had been living and working for more than twenty years. And to return permanently to my own county, Japan.

When I closed my Keiko Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts, which opened in 2003, many friends, colleagues, and customers expressed their regrets, but encouraged me to continue in Japan my work with young contemporary Japanese artists because they considered it important work.

That encouragement from so many people whom I respected gave me the confidence and the energy to pursue the next chapter of my new life in Japan, which is very exciting.

My new business is called Keiko Art International, and will focus on featuring and selling art via a website and also providing information about varying techniques and materials of art and craft, which is of increasing interest internationally. And I remain dedicated to introducing and promoting the work of Japanese artist outside of Japan.

When I opened my Boston gallery in 2003 a knowledge and appreciation of contemporary Japanese craft was not widespread in the U.S. In the experience of most Americans Japanese craft suggested solely traditional, functional works. I realized that many others before me had promoted traditional works; therefore I decided I would explore and promote the work of contemporary artists and craftspeople.

Because I lived in the U.S. for such a long time, I began to feel that I didn’t belong to either country. I saw a similarity with the new generations of artists and their works which, while derived from Japanese traditional techniques and materials, did not belong solely to the traditional culture of Japan, but to the modern world.

At the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries, the revolution in traditional Japanese crafts in all media resulted in dramatic shifts in the work of young artists that had been rigidly trained in traditional materials, techniques and forms. Following the exciting ‘modernization’ in Japanese ceramics in the 1950s and 60s, textile and fiber artists developed new and exciting conceptual installations, and lacquer artists began to create sculptures on a very large scale. ‘Design’ became a significant concern for emerging young artists and craftspeople who sought to create something unique to set themselves apart from the past.

I am fascinated by these new works that refuse to be categorized because they have been created in a very different world. Although the works I deal with now are very contemporary, they are undeniably rooted in traditional techniques and materials. These artists know that until they master the traditional techniques and materials, they will never be free to create the works of art they imagine. I have known and worked with so many young artists in so many media in the past ten years that I am inspired to be a colleague and find ways to share their unique work with the rest of the world.

— Keiko Fukai