Kaneko Toru

Kaneko Toru (b. 1962)

“My heart sees through the seemingly harsh cold surface of metal to reveal its hidden inner sensuality. Challenging perceptions of its nature and form, I wish my work to bring the fascination of metal to the widest possible audience.”

A graduate of the highly prestigious Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and currently Associate Professor at Tohoku University of Art and Design, Kaneko Toru is both an inspired artist and an inspiring teacher. With little attention to precious metals, he creates masterpieces through a combination of traditional Japanese metalworking techniques and materials with an individual creativity that excites.

From ancient cast bronze bells to finely smithed samurai swords, metal has always played a significant part in the world of Japanese art and design. Unique patinating and surface anodising techniques, gold and silver inlay, and mysterious combinations of copper, gold and silver, have contributed to the high standing of Japanese metalwork in the Western world.

Kaneko Toru seeks to challenge the perception of metal as cold and inflexible. His work in silver in particular is soft, reminiscent of peaking egg whites, shimmering in hand beaten textured surfaces, and delicate to the touch in the masterful way he controls the threatening vacuum between thin sheets of silver. He creates exotic textures and coloured surfaces in large works, silver plating and oxidizing tin, enamelling metal a brilliant white, playing with copper oxide to create a deep aqua on shapes that delight the eye.

Internationally recognized as one of the great artistic talents of the contemporary era, Kaneko Toru’s work is found in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He has created exciting works in silver for the Japanese tea ceremony, a chawan, tea bowl in silver, used in the Oribe symposium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2003. In 2006 Professor Kaneko and a number of post-graduate students, conducted master classes in Melbourne, Australia, as part of the official Australia-Japan Year of Exchange activities.


1962   Born Tokyo
1986   Bachelor of Arts (Metalwork) Tokyo National University of Fine Arts
1988   Master of Arts (Metalwork) Tokyo National University of Fine ArtsTokyo
Currently Assistant Professor Tohoku Geijutsu Koka University
1992   Superior Prize ‘The Art of Jewellery’ Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo Judges’ Prize Takaoka Craft Competition
1995   Contemporary Jewellery ‘ Ghent Municipal Museum of Decorative Art, Belgium and National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo
Silver Medal Takaoka Craft Competition
Judges’ Award International Design Fair IN Miyagi
1996   Superior Prize Japan Craft Exhibition
Superior Prize ‘ Tsukatte mitai kita no kashiki ‘ Competition
1997   Encouragement Award Asahi Contemporary Craft Exhibition Grand Prize Takaoka Craft Competition
‘Japanese Contemporaries’, London, Lesley Craze Gallery
1998   ‘Japan Jewellery Art‘ Itami City Craft Centre, Ueno Mori Art Museum Invitational Exhibitor Takaoka Craft Competition
1999   ‘Bi no yokan’ Takashimaya Nihonbashi, Yokohama, Osaka, Kyoto 2000 Invitational Exhibitor Asahi Contemporary Craft Exhibition
Japan Jewellery Art Exhibition Award of Excellence
Selection 2000 Essen, Germany
2001   18th ‘Tansui “ Award Sato Art Craft Foundation
Outline Exhibition London, Gallery Flow
Contemporary Japanese Jewellery, London, Crafts Council Gallery Japan: Hidden Beauty London, Asian Art
2002   ‘Wabi ten’ Clotworthy Arts Centre, Ireland 2003 Oribe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Mugen, Lesley Kehoe Galleries, Melbourne
2004   Collect, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
2005   International Art & Design Fair, NY, Lesley Kehoe Galleries, 06, 07 2006 Japanese Contemporary Metalwork”, Sofitel, Melbourne
2007   Contemporary Tea Pieces, Gallery Rubein, Tokyo
‘Materials from space’ – Tea and Craft, Gallery Rubein, Tokyo
2008   Fine Art Open HOUSE Guus Roell’s Gaiieru (Maastricht)
Cha No Yu -Shigeru Uchida and seven artists- Ippodo Gallery, NY
2012   Heavy Metal : Challenging Perceptions, Lesley Kehoe Galleries, Melbourne, Australia

Kaneko Toru
Lesley Kehoe