Nishiyama Yoshikatsu


Nishiyama Yoshikatsu (b. 1946)
西山吉勝

“In Japan, we have a unique spiritual background, that of 道 (dou), way or pathway: Each discipline of the arts is metaphorical to the path. There is a connection here with the ‘satori’ of Zen, but in order to advance one step to the next level, one has not only to absorb all into oneself, but also to let go of everything. Then the next step is unity and harmony with Nature.

In a word, Japanese beauty is the asymmetrical beauty projected by the natural world. This is not the replication of nature, not something forcibly constructed, but a beauty born in the conceptualization of this harmony. Brought up in the spirituality of the path, the Japanese have idealized it and given if form in ‘wa’ (和) My works are not only form, but in this way are also spiritual.”

Nishiyama Yoshikatsu has over 35 years experience creating European style jewellery at the top levels of the Japanese market. His path is both wide and deep. He has studied in America and Italy, Hong Kong and Bangkok and personally travels to Thailand and India to select the stones for his work. There is no tradition of personal jewellery in the arts of Japan. For women, adornment focused on the kimono, the obi and obi clasp and elaborate hair ornaments. For men, the inro and netsuke were fashionable accessories and the often elaborate fittings on swords provided decorative accents.

Nishiyama has defined his life’s goal as the expression of traditional Japanese beauty, ‘wa’ (和) in jewellery, a heritage which is European. He pays tribute to the French tradition, is bewitched by its beauty, and states humbly that only after 35 years of professional practice does he dare to combine this with ‘wa’ (和).

Using traditional motifs such as chrysanthemum flowers and white and red plums from famous early screen paintings by Ogata Korin, Nishiyama’s artistry is breathtaking. Finely wrought pierced settings set diamonds afire and detailed makie lacquer decoration complements precious stones.

Nishiyama’s works come alive on the finger. They are mysteriously attuned to the physiology of the hand and to the personality of the wearer. In an ideal world, Nishiyama wishes to design and create bespoke jewellery…and thus he wishes “to introduce to the world the magnificence of Japanese culture.”

1946   Born Sapporo Japan
1947   Moved to Yokohama
1949   Studied Nihonga under Kataoka Tamako ( Member Japan Art Institute, Japan Art Academy,
Person of Cultural Merit, Order of Culture, d.2008)
1969   Graduated Osaka Technical University
1969   Commenced employment with NEC
1971   Left NEC to study in America at the Gemological Institute of America
Studied jewelry manufacture in America
Returned to Japan and opened independent studio at home in Aoyama and began individual design and sales. From design, to manufacture and sales all done solo in house.
Personal selection of gemstones on trips to Thailand and India, design begins after selection of stones.Works selected for publication in leading Japanese fashion and lifestyle publications
1978   Returned to America to continue study, returned to Japan the following year 1982 Studied with Italian jewelry design and manufacturing company
1985   Opened jewelry boutique in Tokyo Shinbashi
Studied jewelry manufacture in Hong Kong and Bangkok

Exhibitions
1989   Solo show at Hotel New Otani
1990   Solo show at Dai-ichi Hotel
1995   Moved studio and boutique to Tokyo Yoyogi
2005   New York Hotel Westin Solo Show
2006   Paris Hotel Park Hyatt Solo Show

Articles
Kateigaho International Japan June 2006, June 2007
Dream France November 2006, December 2006
Univers Des Arts France December 2006
Mixt France March 2007

Nishiyama Yoshikatsu
Lesley Kehoe