2018 tokyo quilt festival—quilt exhibits :: Okan Arts
2018 tokyo quilt festival—quilt exhibits

2018 tokyo quilt festival—quilt exhibits


By Patricia Belyea

TOKYO JP Three days after a traffic-stopping snowstorm hit the most populated city in the world, the Tokyo Quilt Festival opened its doors. Here are oodles of photos from Opening Day so you can vicariously tour the show floor. NOTE: This is only a thimbleful of the quilts exhibited!

Most of the credits were listed in Japanese. I have included the artists’ names when they were available in English.

original design category—a sampling






original design category—the winners

Detail: First Place—Jim Hay

Detail: 2nd Place—Emiko Yakushiji

Detail: 3rd Place— Hiroko Ouchi

wa (the essence of Japan) category—a sampling



wa category—the winners

First Place—Yasuko Anai

Second Place—Momoe Kashihara
Third Place—Tamiko Mawatari

traditional design category—the winners

First Place— Rieko Hasegawa

Second Place—Emiko Kobayashi

Third Place—Kyo Saito

invitational category—a sampling

Quilt Artist: Sachiko Yoshida
Quilt Artist: Mitsuyo Akita


Quilt Artist: Satoko Okamura


Quilt Artist: Keiko Miyauchi


Quilt Artist: Toshie Shinohara


Quilt Artist: Etsuko Ishitobi

show winners

Friendship Award—Chikako Akashi

Hand Making Award—Toshiko Imai

Japan Quilt Grand Prix Second Place—Chiharu Katsuragawa

Japan Quilt Grand Prix First Place—Masako Sanada

To take a look at the SPECIAL EXHIBITS at 2018 Tokyo Quilt Festival +click here

To examine UP-CLOSE PHOTOS of the quilts at 2018 Tokyo Quilt Festival +click here

To shop for vintage Japanese textiles in the Okan Arts Shop +click here

leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

83 comments to “2018 tokyo quilt festival—quilt exhibits”

  1. Teresa Duryea Wong says:

    Great post Patricia. Thanks for sharing.

  2. On my bucket list to attend someday. Until then thank you from the bottom of my heart sharing. These are all works of art.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Cathy—Visiting the Tokyo Quilt Festival is on many quilters bucket list. Just grab a buddy and make some plans. Tokyo is easy to visit and there are lots of affordable places to stay. PB

  3. Johanna says:

    Thank you for sharing these photos! Someday I will make it to this show, but in the meantime am happy to see it through the eyes of other quilters.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Johanna—It is about 100 times better in person but this blog post gives you a glimpse of the incredible Festival. PB

  4. Marsha burdick says:

    Thanks SO MUCH for sending us these photos!

  5. Karen Friedrichs says:

    Their quilts continue to “WOW” in a unique way! Thanks for sharing.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Karen—Yes, year after year, the Japanese quilters continue to hit high heights with their creations. This is my fifth Festival and I’m still blown away. PB

  6. Cathy Tomm says:

    Love seeing this show, Maybe someday I can go in person. Thank you for showing us.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Cathy—Tokyo is a very easy city to visit. It is safe and friendly. I hope you do make it to the Festival coming up. PB

  7. Renee Atkinson says:

    So many WOWs. Love Quilt Artist: Toshie Shinohara!!! Thanks for posting!!

  8. Pat in WNY says:

    Fabulous quilts! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Janet Wright says:

    Wow! I wish I could have been there. You are having fun

  10. Sylvia says:

    The Japanese esthetic is breath taking!!

  11. Rebecca D says:

    Oh my gosh – what a stunning array of quilts! Thank you so much for sharing these with everyone. Looking at them almost made me tired! (In a good way.)

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Rebecca—I know what you mean. These Japanese quilters have been working very hard to show us remarkable work. We know what it takes! PB

  12. Katrine Eagling says:

    Patricia, Do they have dvd’s available for sale of this show? If so how much are they? Could you pick up some if they were prepaid for on your PayPal account?

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Kae—Visitors can buy catalogs of the show—there are two. One catalog shows the special exhibits, the other shows the category quilts. Each book costs about $20 and weighs a bit to carry. I went on Thursday and Friday but will not be back to the Festival this year. PB

  13. David Owen Hastings says:

    Wow, mind blown! Just looking at a small sampling of the quilts is humbling, I can’t imagine what seeing the whole show would be like. Thank you for sharing!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      David—I hope you make it to the Tokyo Quilt Festival one year. The Japanese quilters are remarkably talented and put on an excellent show. PB

  14. Sondra Sweeney says:

    A group of incredibly talented quilt artists. Mesmerizing quilts. I spent an inordinate amount of time studying each one.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Sondra—You can imagine how long Festival visitors spend looking at each quilt. Many folks come for two full days! PB

  15. Michele Hill says:

    Thankyou so much for taking the time to share these amazing works of art Patricia for those of us who couldn’t be there. They are all gob-smackingly beautiful and re-affirms my belief that Japanese quilt makers are the true Masters of the world…..thankyou!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Michele—The Japanese quilters are incredible. Remember that they make their quilts to impress. The other approach to quilting has nothing to do with impressing others, but of giving love to others. PB

  16. Penny Cole says:

    Beautiful. Stunning quilts

  17. Gul Laporte says:

    Thank you for sharing with those who couldn’tattend the TQS!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Gul—I have been fortunate to be able to attend TQS five times. It is my mission to share what I see each time with other quilters. PB

  18. Kim says:

    Glorious! Thank you.

  19. Hilda Krebs says:

    Gorgeous I wish I could see some of them closer.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Hilda—I hope you found my third blog post about the Festival that shows up-close detail photos of many quilts. PB

  20. eileen says:

    These pictures and the quilts are spectacular. Thank you so such for sharing

  21. Barbara Morrill says:

    These quilts are beyond beautiful. They are gorgeous works of art.

  22. Patricia Lilja says:

    Very awesome !

  23. Jules says:

    Thanks for sharing these with us! (from TQS)

  24. Patsy N. Burroughs says:

    My Goodness, those are the most beautiful. creative and varied quilts i have ever seen in my lifetime! Not to mention the beautiful hand work, just exquisite! Thank you for sharing, just awesome.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Patsy—Good call on the diversity. They are not cookie-cutter quilts with slight variations but instead highly creative and individual. PB

  25. Bess Skipper says:

    All I can say I am glad I was not a judge. All of them are breathtakingly beautiful. I wish they were near me to teach me such a beautiful skill.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Bess—Japanese quilters are committed to a rigorous educational/training regime like nothing we have in the US. They choose a sensei (teacher) who they meet with once a month—bringing their homework each time they return. It takes around 5 years to be considered a competent quilter. Many students study with their senseis for decades. PB

  26. Sandy May says:

    Now that I’ve looked at the 2018 quilts, I’m going back and review (and enjoy) the prior years photos you have posted. I’m simply enchanted by these most unusual quilts.

  27. Susan Guzman says:

    I’m blown-away by the artistry. Truly outstanding work. What I love most about the quilts from Japan are the details. Once you zero-in, the quilts become that much more spectacular. Thanks so much for sharing! What a treat!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Susan—All the quilts shown at Tokyo Quilt Festival would be blue-ribbon winners at our shows. It is absolutely incredible work. PB

  28. Rachel says:

    Thanks for putting this together!

  29. Linda Steiner says:

    After reading your blog last year I actually was there myself this year. Thankyou for sharing the winning quilts. I took photos too but wasnt sure which ones were awarded by the judges. The festival is grand in scale. The walls for quilt display and the lighting really showcase each work of art very well. Special exhibits really lived up to the moniker. Every quilter should put this event on their bucket list if they enjoy travel. I fell in love with Japan.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Linda—How cool that reading my blog moved you to see the Tokyo Quilt Festival! I agree that the special exhibits really are amazing. I look forward to getting back to Tokyo next January! Best, PB

  30. Nancy says:

    I would love to be able to see your site. The popups that fill up almost 1/2 of the page and stay on are incredibly distracting and irritating. The bits I can see are very interesting and I’d love to see them.

  31. Irene Harvalias says:

    WOW! Such beauty, workmanship and diversity! Amazing!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Irene—Yes. The diversity is exciting to see. The quilters really challenge themselves to go in their own directions. PB

  32. Meg Baier says:

    Hello Patricia, first of all i‘d like to thank you for sharing all the pictures with details, and information.
    I am a Hobby patchworker , and love combining my trips with quilt shows. I‘ve been to many different ones in Europe, since is it‘s closer to me ( i live in Berlin). Tokyo „international“ quilt show, was a „dream to be realized“ ; to visit „the world biggest quilt event“…
    Ifinally made it this year…and was so dissapointed!!! I‘ve never been to the show in Houston, Texas, but i imagine it is bigger that that. I‘m a frequent guest at the Carrefour, european quilt festival in Ste Marie-aux-Mînes, and that is definetly bigger than that. There‘s another one in Birmingham in August that i think is also bigger than that…
    I think you cannot call a festival where you don‘t find any information on the quilts , other than japanese “international”. The show is so full that you don‘t have a chance to get close to the quilts been shown. I was there on Monday, and was so dissapointed that i didn’t even bother to come back. As i said ‘m very thankfull to your blog that definitely helped me to see and understand a little more.
    The japanese undoubtedly make a beautiful, accurate and detailed work. I’m a huge fan of their style, therefore this big wish to make it to this show…
    I think they still have to change few things if they want it to call their show “international”. The other thing i found weird, is that they don’t have any workshops to offer…this is the chance you have to learn from the big masters…
    Patricia, i’m sorry, but i had to share my disappointment, and at the same time thank you for not letting my impression be even worse.
    Meg

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Hi Meg—Thanks for sharing all your thoughts on the Tokyo Quilt Festival.

      Let’s start with the concept of BIG. It can be interpreted in many ways. I have no need to defend the Festival but let’s take a look at attendance info.

      On opening day of the Tokyo Quilt Festival, 50,000 visitors came through the doors. When I spoke and taught at Birmingham in 2014, the organizers were thrilled to count 8,000 quilters coming through the doors on the first day. I don’t have opening day stats for Houston but the overall day count for the Houston Festival is 85,000. The Tokyo Quilt Festival finishes with a total of 245,000 visitors. As I have not been to any of the European shows, I can not comment on Carrefour.

      I want you to think back on the special exhibits at the Tokyo show. I have not seen anything that compares in Birmingham or Houston. Have a whole team of quilters create a cohesive and professional exhibit like Louise May Alcott’s Orchard House was impressive. And the Complete Works of Fumiko Nakayama with the entry installation was also stunning.

      You mention that you were not able to get close to the quilts in Tokyo. I was there on opening day and was able to get close to any quilt I wanted. And that is the busiest day.

      As for international, the show is open to anyone. That said, it is not easy to get through the paperwork, compete with such extraordinary talent, and ship your quilt. I saw a quilt from the Mideast last year and a few American quilts.

      Funny you should ask about workshops. The Japanese style of quilt training is formal and intense. Students do not take workshops from any teacher but their own sensei (honored teacher). That’s quite the opposite of American quilters who take classes from anyone and everyone!

      I was not disappointed this year although I have attended five times. I look forward to heading back next January. PB

  33. Irene Dunlop says:

    When I look at the work of these quilters, I wonder what the rest of us think we are doing, but I know the joy of working with fabric, so there it is. Their beautiful stitching, and innovative ideas are true works of art. Thank you for sharing these lovely pictures Patricia

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Irene—My work can not compare with the detailed craftsmanship and designs of the Japanese quilters. But that doesn’t stop me. I love quilting and so do you! Let’s just keep cutting apart fabric and sewing it back together! PB

  34. Carol Ann Eades says:

    Thank you for your insight and for the inspiration oozing from this remarkable and unique show

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Carol Ann—Some folks feel defeated seeing such accomplished work. I’m glad the photos inspire you as you can glean whatever new idea you want from the quilts shown! PB

  35. Yarrow McConnell says:

    Patricia – thanks so much for sharing these photos – inspiration – including many many curvy pieces! Yarrow

  36. karen says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! What an experience of joy it must have been.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Karen—I only went to Tokyo for a few days this year. You would think it would be an arduous trip but it was really a joy. PB

  37. David Owen Hastings says:

    Just had another look at these amazing quilts… mind blowing amount of work and creativity!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Jane—I go to Tokyo to report on the show as everyone around the globe wants to see the amazing work of the Japanese quilters. PB

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      David—Many people who journey to Tokyo to see the Quilt Festival go for two days. The first day is to get an overall impression and the second day is to really delve into the details of the masterpieces and meet some of the quilting leaders there. PB

  38. Cindy Gilbrough says:

    Thanks, Patricia, the pics are wonderful!

  39. Jane Kuwana says:

    What a joy to share your wonderful photos of these spectacular quilts!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Jane—I go to Tokyo to report on the show as everyone around the globe wants to see the amazing work of the Japanese quilters. PB

  40. yvonne moore says:

    My favourite was your top heading quilt by Satoko Okamura – real patchwork & so much stitching. It was only on my second day that I realized it was bound in lace, another real contrast in textures!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Yvonne—That was an amazing quilt. The stitching made a whole new texture that was innovative. And I never noticed the lace trim. PB

  41. Margaret Packham says:

    I was there this year and each and every quilt was stunning. It is interesting that every quilter quilts her own quilt. I think it is a matter of pride, and so it should be. I bought the catalogue and have looked at it most days since, truly inspiring.