ARTIST Nishida Kayoko, Embroidery Artist | AKAN AINU ARTS & CRAFTS → NEXT

ARTIST Nishida Kayoko, Embroidery Artist

All play

An embroiderer active in Akanko Ainu Kotan.
On the occasion of marriage, she took the opportunity to move to Akanko Ainu Kotan, where she learned how to embroider Ainu patterns and sew Ainu garments from her mother-in-law and neighboring “fuchi” (respectful older women in Ainu). At the age of 23, she began working on embroidery herself, gaining experience as she observed her mother-in-law at work. Before long, she was creating her own patterns as she polished her techniques in embroidery and making clothes.
Now active as a professional embroiderer, she adds her own touches to what she has been taught as she carries on these traditions.

Each movement of Ms Nishida’s needle is guided by her thoughts for the recipient of the embroidery. What feeling will it inspire at the touch of a finger? As she sews each garment, she thinks of the wearer. Ainu patterns symbolize protection from evil spirits, and with each careful stitch, she wishes that no harm will befall the wearer. She seeks not only to create beauty, but also to create each garment with genuine care. She believes that no matter how beautiful it may be, a garment made without heartfelt care will never have true value.
Amidst nature, she is struck with inspiration for new designs. The shape of a grape vine spotted while walking through the woods, the color of an autumn leaf, and how to align the designs and colors… nature tells her everything. Many of her works reflect this wisdom from the wilderness.

As she creates garments with beautiful Ainu patterns, Ms Nishida applies her experience over many years in Akanko Ainu Kotan. Featuring gentle lines, her unique patterns captivate the hearts of viewers.
Ms Nishida says that, just the same as long ago, life in Akanko Ainu Kotan is based on helping one another, as if everyone is family. This philosophy shows in the feeling of humility she finds as she embroiders Ainu patterns. Someone made this cloth; someone spun this thread. I rely upon the efforts of these others as I add the merest touches of my personality. It is essential to never forget that each work of art is indebted to the efforts of many others.


On the occasion of marriage, she took the opportunity to move to Akanko Ainu Kotan, and began to learn embroidery techniques by observing her mother-in-law’s work. She is now active in Ainu dance, while working as an Ainu embroidery artist and teaching future generations. In 2001, she was certified as a distinguished master of crafts by the Ainu Association of Hokkaido.
◆1998 31st Hokkaido Traditional Ainu Folk Craft Exhibition, Hokkaido Governor’s Award
◆1999 32nd Hokkaido Traditional Ainu Folk Craft Exhibition, Judge’s Special Award
◆2001 34th Hokkaido Traditional Ainu Folk Craft Exhibition, Outstanding Achievement Award (Kaderu Prize)


Chinita Folk Craft Shop

4-7-25 Akanko Onsen, Akan-cho, Kushiro-shi, Hokkaido