About Gallery Nakama

Masae Nakama

In 1982 Masae Nakama opened a gallery called Gallery Nakama in Denen-chofu, which is famous as an upper-class residential area in Tokyo. In the early days of the gallery, it carried various art works such as sculptures, paintings, prints, ceramics and glass works. In 1986 Ms. Nakama traveled to Europe and saw a lot of art works made of glass and met many artists. Especially in the Czech Republic and Germany, artists embodied their rich heritage of glass and created their own works. She was deeply impressed by these, and she was confirmed in her notions of the great possibilities of glass as an art medium. She decided that her gallery would specialize in art works made of glass.


In Japan there is a remarkable history of crafts such as ceramics, textiles, wood and paper, but there isn't a conspicuous history of glass-making. In the 1980s artists who graduated Tama Art University were seeking places to exhibit their works. At that time, it was the only university in Japan where students were able to study glass making in art programs. In 1982 "World Glass Now," which exhibited contemporary glass works from all over the world, was held at the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition won the praise of many people and it continued to be held as a triennial exhibition until 1995. In 1987 the Niijima Glass Art Center was opened and invited artists from abroad and held workshops. The center grew and it gained worldwide recognition as the "Pilchuck of Japan." Private glass studios were built, and schools started glass-making programs. As the glass art scene developed in the 1980s, Nakama promoted glass art and helped artists and their activities.


In 1992 Nakama made the gallery a joint-stock company, and since 1999 she has been the chief executive officer. In 2004 the gallery moved to the Ginza which is one of the famous bustling areas of Tokyo and has a history of having art galleries. Gallery Nakama also organizes exhibitions outside of the gallery. For instance, in 2002 "Glass Sculptures by Stanislav Libensk√Ĺ and Jaroslava Brychtova" was held in Meiji Shrine. In this traditional Japanese setting Nakama exhibited ten sculpures including "Green Eye of the Pyramid." The exhibition allured many people, some of whom were seeing glass sculptures for the first time. Another important work for Gallery Nakama is architectural commissions. From public buildings to private residences Nakama works with an architect and a construction company. Her wide range of knowledge of art and architecture enables her to successfully create commissioned works.


In 2010 Nakama moved the gallery to a quiet residential area in Yokohama. By making prior appointments with guests, Nakama welcomes them with perfect preparation. She continues her activities powerfully and widely: dealing in art works, organizing exhibitions, co-ordinating architectural commissions, writing and lecturing about glass art.