2019 tokyo quilt festival :: Okan Arts
2019 tokyo quilt festival

2019 tokyo quilt festival


By Patricia Belyea

TOKYO JP  I met up with Sachiko Yoshida when I first arrived at the Tokyo Quilt Festival. Sachiko, an honored sensei, has taught for 30 years in the Tokyo area. Behind us is Connections, Sachiko’s newest masterpiece.

Sachiko and I took a stroll around the Wa and Original Design competitions to see some of her students’ work. All her students’ quilts radiated with asymmetric designs, gorgeous old silk kimono fabrics, and precise hand stitching.





Wa Category
  Wa refers to harmony in Japan. Everyone’s lives and interactions aspire to be tension-free and thoughtful of others. It’s a gracious form of selflessness. Here are two winning quilts from the Wa competition:

Original Design   Many of the Original Design quilts this year were much freer than ever before in Tokyo. See for yourself.




Traditional Category  Once again, non-stop Wows in the Traditional Category. Check out a few of the most charming.


New Quilts by Japanese Artists This invitational category includes the works of 52 leading contemporary quilt artists from Japan. Sachiko’s quilt was in this exhibit. Here are some of those outstanding quilts.

Noriko Nozawa  Spring is in the Air
Fukuko Tanaka  VIVA!! AFRICA II Misako Imamura  Congratulations! Reiko Naganuma  What Autumn Forest Tells Me Noriko Hasegawa  Listen!

Grand Prix Winners  This is a big deal every year. The winners are behind roped barricades and it’s almost impossible to get a photo through the crowds.

Hand Making Award : Sachiko Takatani

Japan Quilt Grand Prix First Place: Hitomi Mishima

Japan Quilt Grand Prix Second Place: Kyoko Takeda

There is so much more to see yet if I add any more photos to this post, I’ll break your digital device!

To see the Special Exhibits at the 2019 Tokyo Quilt Festival +click here

To see close-up details of the quilts in the major exhibits at the 2019 Tokyo Quilt Festival +click here

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37 comments to “2019 tokyo quilt festival”

  1. Janet C. Wright says:

    WOW!!!! What a joy to see these quilts. I envy you–being able to see them all. The workmanship is incredible. Definitely the most creative in design that I have ever seen. How lucky you are to be able to be there.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Janet—Yes, it is delightful to see the quilts each year. I am also getting to know a few of the sensei and their students, which makes it even more fascinating! PB

  2. Nancy says:

    Thank you SO much for the photos. I am in awe of these artists! How can we have these quilts tour the US? PLEASE!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Nancy—Many quilts that show at Tokyo Quilt Festival are exhibited in the big shows in the US—especially at Houston and Paducah. PB

  3. Patti Bach says:

    Thank you! Can’t wait for more!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Patti—This year the Festival was delightful. I look forward to returning next January and reporting again. PB

  4. Mrs. Plum says:

    Thank you, thank you for sharing this mind-boggling creativity and workmanship! I can only imagine the visual impact of seeing them in real life. They are each so unique.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Mrs. Plum—Yes. It is wonderful to see everything in real life. Another facet of the experience is the energy. On Opening Day, about 50,000 quilters visit the Festival. It’s like the vortex for quilting in the universe! PB

  5. Aime Augsburg says:

    I am blown away by those quilts. The talent and skill is beyond my wildest imaginations. Will you lead a tour next year? That would be amazing! Keep me informed!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Aime—There is a high chance that I will be leading a tour to the Japan and the Tokyo Quilt Festival in 2020. I’ll put you on the Interested Folks list so you can hear about it when the details are secured. PB

  6. Pm Weizenbaum says:

    Thank you so much for taking us to Tokyo with you! This is a marvelous experience, even from afar.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Pm—Armchair travel is a beautiful thing. Real travel, with all its rewards, is expensive and often arduous. PB

  7. Shasta Matova says:

    Wow these are incredible quilts! Thank you for sharing them. I look forward to seeing more!

  8. Sherry says:

    I am so glad to see that hand quilting is still strong in Japanese quilting! Here in the US we’ve become so dependent on long-arm machines that it is rare to see any hand quilted work. Thanks for sharing and I can’t wait to see your next installment!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Sherry—So true. Every quilt show in the US shows amazing long-arm stitching prowess. Long-arm machines are just not part of the quilt community here. PB

  9. Linda Moran says:

    what a joyous delight!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Linda—Yes, for us visitors. I do wonder how exhausted the sensei and students much be to keep up this high level of wonderment each year. PB

  10. Lynn says:

    Thank you for posting such beautiful and inspirational photos. It would certainly be wonderful to be part of a tour or the quilt show and Japan with you as a guide !

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Lynn—I may be leading a tour for the 2020 Tokyo Quilt Festival. I’ll put you on the list of Interested Folks and let you know in the coming month, if that is truly happening. PB

  11. Martha Wacker says:

    Wow! Thank you for being there and sharing these quilts with us. Each one deserves so much scrutiny. So much creativity!!

  12. Terry Peart says:

    Thank you, that was fun and truly amazing.

  13. Nancy Hower says:

    What beautiful work, hours and hours of work. Thank you for sharing with us.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Nancy—Many salaryman husbands work ridiculously long days. So the wives do have hours and hours to stitch. How wonderful that they found quilting! PB

  14. Darnney Proudfoot says:

    Just back from Tokyo Quilt Festival. Thank you for your amazing pictures. My camera did not work, although I tested it before I left. The grand prize winning quilt was beautiful, and the techniques were fascinating and inspiring. Hope to see you soon.

  15. NanRom says:

    Thank you for posting – much appreciated!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      NanRom—You’re welcome. I have been reporting on the Tokyo Quilt Festival for a few years and love to see what is here each time. PB

  16. Michele Rook says:

    Thank you for posting the photos. Having lived in Japan, and my familiarity with Japanese artisans in all fields, they are truly dedicated to their craftsmanship in so many areas. Their attention to detail, colors, and yet the simplicity/complexity of the artistry is phenomal and I might add very enviable to endeavor such projects.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Michele—How fortunate for you to have lived in Japan. You are familiar with the spirit of the Japanese and their commitment to any endeavor. These masterpieces would not be possible without that high level of commitment. PB

  17. Susan Cherry says:

    mAGNIFICENT! THANK YOU FOR SHARING

  18. Deanna Aday-Keller says:

    Stunning group of quilting eye candy

  19. Elizabeth cunningham says:

    Exquisite and inspirational quilts.Maybe I will get to visit one year soon.

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Elizabeth—I hope you do venture to Tokyo to see the show. The Japanese quilters really dedicate themselves to their joy of quilting. The exhibits are wonderful to see. PB