Hiroshi Awatsuji (1929 – 1995) Japanese Textile Designer

Hiroshi Awatsuji featured image
Hiroshi Awatsuji featured image

Hiroshi Awatsuji (1929- 1995) was a Japanese textile and graphic designer: born in Kyoto. He was considered the first Japanese textile designer to be recognised for contemporary design rather than for traditional art and craft. The main characteristic of his work was over sized motifs.


Studied at the Municipal College of Fine Arts in Kyoto to 1950. Whereas the majority of students at the local art university wanted to study traditional craft, Awatsuji took the risk of studying design, which was still in its infancy.


Following graduation, he worked for Kanebo, Japan’s premier textile manufacturer, based in Kyoto, until opening his own business in Tokyo in 1958. Awatsuji was one of the most innovative post-war Japanese printed textile designers. He collaborated from 1964 with Fujie Textiles. It was here he started producing brightly coloured, bold new ranges of interior fabrics.

In his own showroom he promoted his own designs featuring abstract patterns on thickly texture fabrics that took advantage of his weaving skills.

On Commission in 1971-72 he designed furnishing fabrics for Tokyo Hotels, Ginza and 1982 tapestries for IBM, Japan.


From the mid 1960’s, his bold and colourful printed textiles broke with traditional Japanese design. His multi-layered black and white patterns from the late 1980s, which evoked fantastical flowers and imaginative textured landscape, and his painterly abstracts from the 1990s, which were printed or woven in variants of the same intense or delicate tones, were particularly remarkable.

Awatsuji believed design was born out of day-to-day life and enriched ones living space.

Selection of Works


A Companion to Textile Culture. (2020). United States: Wiley.

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Jackson, L. (2002). Twentieth-century pattern design : textile & wallpaper pioneers. United Kingdom: Princeton Architectural Press.

Wikipedia contributors. (2020, February 24). Hiroshi Awatsuji. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 05:00, June 1, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hiroshi_Awatsuji&oldid=942366506

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