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Photo: Keisuke Inoue



Atsushi Watanabe

(Contemporary artist)


Since attending Tokyo University of the Arts, Atsushi Watanabe has been presenting socially critical artworks based on his own experiences with emotional scars and mind traps. Watanabe mainly focuses on painting, but also uses other media, such as installation, photography, and performance. The subject matter varies from new religions, economic disparity, homelessness, animal rights, gender, hikikomori to mental illnesses. After graduating university, Watanabe experienced living with homeless people, became a hikikomori, and then he resumed his work in 2013. In 2016, he joined ARTIST’S GUILD.


  • 2010 Finished Research Program, the Graduate School of Fine Arts, Graduate School of Tokyo University of the Arts.
  • 2009 Finished Oil Painting Major, the Graduate School of Fine Arts, Graduate School of Tokyo University of the Arts.
  • 2007 Graduated Painting, Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts.
  • 1978 Born in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.

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[Selected Exhibitions]

   <Solo Exhibitions>

   <Group Exhibitions>

  • Special Exhibition commemorating 130th anniversary of the founding of Tokyo University of the Arts “The Pandora’s box: Finding the Wondrous in the Geidai Collection”, The University Art Museum, Tokyo University of the Arts, Tokyo, 2017.
  • Koganecho Bazaar 2016 ‘Life - World of Asia’, Koganecho, Yokohama, 2016.
  • Who By Art Vol. 2, SEIBU Shibuya Art Gallery, Alternative Space, Shibuya, Tokyo, 2013.
  • Asia Panic, Gwangju Biennale Hall, Gwangju, 2009.
  • Chibatori, Chiba City Museum of Arts, Chiba, 2008.

[Selected Art Fairs]

  • 3331 Art Fair 2015, Arts Chiyoda 3331, Tokyo, 2015.
  • Art fair Tokyo 2015, Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, 2015.


[Selected Talks & Events]

  • The 24th Annual Meeting of Japanese Society of Artistic Anatomy: The Decline of the Human (Presentation at this conference), "Why a former hikikomori man continues to make contemporary art", Tokyo University of the Arts, Tokyo, 2017.
  • "Koganecho Bazaar 2016: Atsushi Watanabe discusses his project <Tell me your emotional scars>" Interviewer: Taro Amano (Chief Curator, Yokohama Civic Art Gallery Azamino) , Underpass Studio Site-D Conference Hall, Kanagawa, 2016.
  • "Makoto Aida’s monthly rip-off bar" Interviewer: Makoto Aida, Bigakko, Tokyo, 2015.
  • "A Talk with Atsushi Watanabe" Interviewer: Shigo Jinno (Associate Professor, University of Chiba), Taisei pouch, Kanagawa, 2015.


[Selected Articles & Media]


  • "Tokyo Newspaper": Tell me your emotional scars, Yokohama artist Atsushi Watanabe listens through art, September 29, 2016.
  • "Yomiuri Shimbun": Making art with emotional scars, September 27, 2016.
  • "Kanagawa Newspaper": Listening to people’s emotional scars, September 18, 2016.



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  • "Heart net TVBreakthrough, Emotional scars shine in the future, contemporary artist Atsushi Watanabe" (NHK) , Aired on June 27, 2016. website,   video
  • ”NEWS 930α” (TV Kanagawa): Special feature, listening to emotional scars with art, a contemporary artist’s desire, Aired on November 4, 2016. 




  • Awarded ARTS COMISSION YOKOHAMA’s Creative Children Fellowship (grant for emerging artist cultivation in Creative City Yokohama), 2016. 


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