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Masakatsu Shimoda, Muji Found, Matsunoya

Publié le juin 21 2021

We just visited Masakatsu Shimoda’s exhibition of canvas dinosaurs! The co-founder of Bows & Arrows met Shimoda-san who she lovingly calls, “Okan”, as a high school student.

He was part of Tokyo’s art and music scene. Okan is the Japanese southern dialect for “Okasan” which means Mom. He used to cook the most amazing meals for us and just encourage us to be ourselves. We all used to hang out on his rooftop studio, it was always a safe and fun place. When studying for exams, he would bring us home cooked food so that we didn’t have to worry about eating and just focus. He made food for, "High Concentration" yes, that is a thing in Japan. There were times when he showed up on his bicycle with a frying pan in his backpack and a basket full of vegetables and fish to cook, and also to make sure that we were studying. When I went to college in NYC he mail drawings of onigiri (rice balls) and other dishes to encourage me. He still mentors and inspires young and old for those lucky to cross paths with him. 

Okan is from Kobe, attended art school, started working in an advertising agency immediately after. In 1994 he didn’t feel he was doing what he wanted to do in life so he bought a one-way boat ticket to China. From there he pretty much walked to Europe for the next 2 years. During his travels he had his notebooks and used whatever local paper, color pencils, crayons, and paint there were to draw portraits of interesting people he came into contact with. This was eventually published in his book, “Masakatsu Shimoda - Private World”. This was followed by more books and articles with sketches and collages.

He spent most of his travels in Tibet, Nepal, and India with monks and drew thousands of portraits. His style of painting is very unusual. He sees color in people’s faces. He scribbles frantically when doing a portrait using colour pencils or crayons to bring out all the colours that he sees. This usually only takes a few minutes.


After returning to Tokyo he continued drawing and painting. He illustrated several children's books as well as novels and biographies.

He has also always loved sewing canvas and began sewing creatures.

He began exhibiting at various locations and being featured in magazines. In 2011, he started making handmade dinosaur headgear with private work. COMME des GARCONS HOMME PLUS adopted the headpiece at the 2018 AW men's collection show. His Comme des Garcons window was one of our all time favourites.

His current exhibition features many of his canvas dinosaurs and creatures. Everyone of all ages leaves his exhibition with a big smile.

Following this exhibition, Masakatsu Shimoda’s work at the Muji gallery in Ginza!


“Found MUJI” in Aoyama is one of our favorite stores in Tokyo. Every few months they have a new selection of beautiful and useful goods collected from all over the world. You can visit the store at 5-5-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.


Ever so casually, without intentions, Found MUJI has been searching for everyday things that people have naturally come to embrace. This search began as MUJI was founded as a private brand of Seiyu, travelling not only in Japan but also all over the world. When the very first MUJI store was renovated as 'Found MUJI Aoyama' in 2011, the project continued to expand into stores across the globe.

The things that we look for are ones that often go unnoticed in everyday life. More often than not, they are things that are perfect just as they are. What appears unremarkable often has a timeless beauty, and a functionality that reflects the land from which it was conceived. Just as it has always been when people from different societies and regions come together, Found MUJI has innately engaged with makers of household goods, and has long been establishing deep, lasting relationships.

Not only looking back on the past; nor focusing only upon the future. Seeking household goods with a universal charm; while engaging both makers and consumers on its journey. With MUJI's vision of 'simple, pleasant life in mind, Found MUJI will continue to rediscover and recreate.

And while we are on the topic of Muji, they have 5 beautiful videos on their website about people cleaning. Cleaning is a sort of meditation for many people, watch the following videos titled, "Why it feels good" to see why. Music by Ryuichi Sakamoto: 

They have also published a beautiful book on Cleaning:



If you like hand made brooms, visit Bows & Arrows to find "Handy Broom" for your desk area or a quick clean by Matsunoya.

Or Click Here to find it on our online store