Business & Technology

Contemporary Wood-Carved Netsuke to open at Ayala Malls Greenbelt 5 in Makati City

Contemporary Wood-Carved Netsuke

With the support of Ateneo de Manila University Japanese Studies Program, Arete and the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, The Japan Foundation, Manila presents a traveling exhibition titled “Contemporary Wood-Carved Netsuke” at Ayala Malls Greenbelt 5 in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines. This is in collaboration with Ayala Museum and Ayala Malls.

As kimono culture flourished during the Edo period in Japan from 1603 to 1868, netsuke (small carvings) were created as toggles to secure the small personal items such as money pouches, inrō (medicine containers) or tobacco containers worn suspended on cords from the obi (a sash worn with kimono). What began as functional pieces to prevent those little containers from falling to the ground evolved into small but highly creative carvings.

In Japan, some netsuke enthusiasts and carvers have managed to keep the tradition alive. Today, classic netsuke have gained international acclaim as remarkably detailed carvings, collected as valuable art pieces or worn as fashion statements with traditional Japanese clothing.

“Netsuke is unique in that daily commodities have evolved into an art form in the course of time,” The Japan Foundation, Manila director Hiroaki Uesugi said. “I believe viewers can enjoy and appreciate the delicate work of art created by Japanese craftsmanship.”

“Contemporary Wood-Carved Netsuke” is an innovative contemporary crafts exhibition presenting 65 works by contemporary Japanese netsuke carvers and artists. A series of special events are also lined up to complement the traveling exhibition.

Mr. Tadamine Nakagawa and Ms. Asuka Kajiura were also invited to to give a talk, demonstration and workshop on netsuke. Aside from the two renowned netsuke artists and experts from Japan, Dr. Karl Cheng Chua from Ateneo de Manila University will also give a talk.

From July 1-21, 2019, “Contemporary Wood-Carved Netsuke” will be available at the 3rd Level of Greenbelt 5 Phase 1 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays-Sundays. In celebration of Philippine-Japan Friendship Month this July, the exhibition run also coincides with the 22nd Japanese Film Festival or EIGASAI screened in film theaters around the Philippines and The Strangers, a dance collaboration to be held at the Blackbox Theater, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.

Artists from Paete, Laguna, Philippines will conduct a workshop on July 2, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Arete at Ateneo de Manila University. Participants are already pre-selected but observers are invited to be a part of the audience for free.

Please note that details are subject to change. For more information and updates visit or

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