About the artist

Born in Hokkaido, Japan, and raised in Tokyo, Yoju first expressed an interest in art at the age of 4. She began formal study at the age of 8 at the Maejima Academy of Art, Tokyo where she continued for 25 years. Additional studies in Calligraphy with the well known instructor, Fujo Minami, Tokyo, were conducted throughout her primary and high school years. After high school followed three years of intensive study at the Kuwasawa and Ootsuka Academy of Design, Tokyo, and an additional 4 years of study at the Pacific Ocean Academy of Art, Tokyo.

During the first 25 years of her career, Yoju concentrated on oil painting as her principle medium. In 1980 she made a significant shift from oil to her current medium which includes gouache, water soluble pencil and crayon, pastel, China ink, suminagashi (water prints), and collage. During the latter part of her oil painting period and early part of her current period her work has been exhibited at numerous galleries as well as in group and solo exhibitions in Japan. At the present time, Yoju's art studio is located in Saratoga, CA.

Art imitates nature, or does it enhance it? In her vibrant artwork, Yoju takes familiar, everyday objects and makes them richer and more vibrant; larger than life. A simple fish, a common apple: each becomes a celebration of form, pattern and color. Strong, graphic lines create a woodcut effect, and striking hues give each work a vivid clarity. With an attentive eye and skilled technique, Yoju displays both the inner life and outer shape of her subjects. Notice how she delineates particular features — a fish’s eyes, a mountain’s shadows — through the emphasis of line and varying shades of color. Yoju’s unique still lifes will accent a dining room or kitchen, while her landscape artwork will add grace to a living room or hallway. Representing a variety of subjects and styles, they’ll show you life through art’s eyes.

INTERVIEW by Next Monet:

Yoju was born and raised in Japan and studied at several prominent art academies in Tokyo. There she learned the art of creating ukiyo—e prints (formal color woodblock prints featuring landscapes or people in everyday scenes), and this subtle graphic effect is reflected in her art. In 1988, Yoju moved to California, where she currently lives and works. She has exhibited her artwork internationally, including at the Keio University in Shonan Fujisawa, Japan.

NextMonet: What inspires you?
Yoju: My inspiration stems primarily from my practice of the Buddhist philosophy. I like to chant the sutra 'Hannya—shingyo,' which deals with the wisdom of living from day to day. Through this I learn to think freely and not be constrained by any particular view or fixed idea. My outlook is always changing and I am ever looking for new things to observe and express.

NM: Have there been particular significant influences on your career as an artist?
Y: My mother was the first major influence on my career. When I was a child she would sometimes spend a week’s wages to buy the art materials I needed to pursue my art interests. This sacrifice and support gave me the important early boost to my career.

NM: Have you been influenced by the places you’ve lived?
Y: I was born and raised in Japan and lived there the first 40 years of my life. There is a strong influence of Japanese culture in my work. The next most significant influence was my move from Japan to California. The opportunity to explore new subject matter was expanded greatly.

NM: What kinds of things do you like to portray in your art?
Y: I like to paint common subjects. I find interesting meaning in ordinary things. For instance, I find it beautiful and enjoyable to paint even a small stone. I always observe nature and express my feelings through my work. I don’t distinguish between representation and abstraction, and am not bound by historical trends and tradition.


Yoju’s vibrant colors, strong lines, and clean composition demonstrate her background in watercolor and calligraphy and her native Japanese culture. She earned degrees from the Maejima Academy of Art, the Kuwasawa and Ootsuka Academy of Design, and the Pacific Ocean Academy of Art, all in Tokyo. Since 1988, Yoju has made her home in California, where the colors of the landscape continue to inform her delightful paintings.

Yoju is currently represented by
AEGis Gallery of Fine Art, Saratoga, CA.
and is featured in International Artist

Yoju's Studio 12272 Via Roncole
Saratoga, CA 95070

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