New Artists: Enter Gallery welcomes Japanese Artists

Japan is without a doubt one of the world’s most intriguing nations. From its mountainous island landscape to its ultra-modern megacities, Japan is a land of juxtapositions and opposites that has captured the imagination of the entire world.

Along with this blend of ancient tradition and boundary-pushing modernity is another contrast that has captivated Japanese artists across history – the idea of exploring the fears, desires, pain and emotion that lay beneath the stoic exterior of the people that call the country home.

A prime example of this contrast is the work of ‘Japan’s answer to Andy Warhol’, Takashi Murakami – an artist whose ‘Superflat’ works combine traditional Japanese art with modern popular culture. While his jolly artworks may appear all-smiles, Murakami uses his characters to convey the collective hidden pain of a nation that has experienced wars, nuclear bombings and devastating natural disasters.


Alongside a collection of works from Murakami, this week we’re also welcoming seven prominent Japanese artists to Enter Gallery.

In today’s blog, we’re revealing more about this group of artists who are currently making waves on Japan’s burgeoning art scene, and whose work is available at Enter Gallery now.

Daisuke Hiraoka

Were we happier when we didn’t have a cell phone, and used the public telephone to talk to our girlfriend or boyfriend?? Were we happier when we got lost not having a google map in our hands guiding our ways?? These Robots might know the answer!’

 – Daisuke Hiraoka

From Transformers and The Wizard of Oz, to the Iron Giant, in popular culture robots are typically portrayed as cold hearted, if not pure evil killing machines. However, as Hogarth says to the Iron Giant in the 1999 movie, “You’re made of metal, but you have feelings, and you think about things, and that means you have a soul.”


This notion defines the oeuvre of Daisuke Hiraoka – an artist who uses imagery of traditional tin robots to explore the complexities of the human heart.

In his art, Hiraoka shuns traditional portrayals of robots, instead infusing his characters with a sense of expression and romance. His works are designed to capture the multitudes and contradictory feelings and experiences of being human.

Much like Murakami employs smiling characters to mask the pain beneath the bright exterior, Hiraoka uses his robots to explore the complexity of human emotion that exists within us all. 

View artworks by Daisuke Hiraoka


Yuya Hashizume

Also joining Enter Gallery is Yuya Hashizume - a contemporary Japanese illustrator known for anime artworks characterised by bold lines and flat panes of colour.

Hashizume is best known for his Eyewater series, in which he captures his lonely adolescent characters in moments of vulnerability as a single tear runs down their face. Each artwork is designed to explore intimacy, the things that go unsaid, and ‘the suppression of sadness in a hyper-paced world.’


Hashizume’s ‘aesthetic of casualness’ is inspired by iconic manga artist, Fujiko F. Fujio – the creator of the classic Doreamon series, and a key pop culture icon who has inspired entire generations of artists, and who collaborated with Murakami on multiple occasions.

View artworks by Yuya Hashizume



Useless things” are always looked down upon by “useful things”. Like putting a lid on dirty things, useless things are driven into corners and covered up. However, these useless things are not always silent. They are depicted in my works as ‘useless’ because of their popular and revolutionary forms, but I love those who are labelled as failures and useless.”

 - Zoe


Zoe is a contemporary artist known for depicting the ‘stories of the struggle of useless things’. His artworks depict energetic scenes defined by bold colours and a cast of unique characters ranging from anthropomorphic toys to one-eyed monsters.


Each animated scene Zoe creates is designed to show his characters interacting. This is so the observer can experience their unique personality traits with each character playing an important role in expressing the artist’s nuanced understanding of life, emotion and humanity.


Zoe’s works are filled with a sense of romanticism born from his days playing in a rock band and writing novels and poems depicting fantasies from his inner world. Zoe attributes this period spent ‘deeply immersed in the joy of literary creation’ as pivotal in imbuing his painting style with a unique literary atmosphere and imagination.

View artworks by Zoe


Kawakami Yoshiro

Kawakami Yoshiro is a prominent Japanese artist who has captured the imaginations of collectors around the world with his artworks of blank-eyed subjects. His works are another prime example of Japanese artists calling us to look beneath the surface of the characters they have chosen to portray.

Across his oeuvre, Yoshiro places each of his subjects within vivid backdrops, each designed to serve as an ‘emotional canvas’ that points us towards how the character is feeling beneath their passive facial expression. This choice is designed to highlight the richness and depth of the emotions we feel, but often don’t express to the world.

By opting for more abstract facial expressions, Yoshiro encourages viewers to engage with the emotions they feel when looking at his work, rather than becoming preoccupied with the physical features of his subjects.

Of course, how an observer feels when looking at Yoshiro’s work differs from person to person. This invites each viewer to reflect on how the piece makes them feel in relation to their own emotions and the personal experiences that they hold within. 

View artworks by Kawakami Yoshiro


Takumi Tsuchida

Visit Japan and you’ll see and hear the word ‘kawaii’ everywhere, whether you’re watching an anime cartoon, buying an outfit, or hearing it used as a term of endearment on the street. This aesthetic defines some of Japan’s biggest artistic exports, from the works of Murakami to Yayoi Kusama.

Kawaii, which when interpreted means ‘culture of cute’, has grown in popularity so exponentially that it has expanded beyond Japanese culture to become part of the international zeitgeist. In fact, at the start of 2024 Somerset House launched its Cute Art Exhibition, showcasing how cuteness has taken over the art world.
Takumi Tsuchida is an artist whose work is the very definition of kawaii. Inspired by Western masters like Van Gogh and Picasso, Tschuida creates paintings featuring cute characters in settings inspired by his reverence for the natural world.   

Each of Tsuchida’s works represents a fusion of music, nature, and visual expression, conveying his passion for western rock music and his commitment to the freedom of artistic expression.

View artworks by Takumi Tsuchida



Also joining Enter Gallery this week is Hooly – an Osaka-based artist with a fascinating artistic background that spans everything from toy design to illustration. 

Each ultra-flat, minimalist artwork that Hooly creates demonstrates a masterful approach to colour and line, reminiscent of British artist, Julian Opie – an artist known for portraits that reduce his subjects to essential lines and colour planes.

Hooly is another artist enthralled by the concept of what we project to the world and what we hold within. In his popular series, Hooly leaves the expression of his subjects the same each time, instead editing only the colours and clothing of his subject. Each piece is an exploration of personality, self-expression and the multitudes we conceal beneath our facial expressions.

View artworks by Hooly



Finally, we have contemporary Japanese artist, Kyaraai – an artist known for kawaii artworks that explore the superficial behaviours of humans.


Across her oeuvre, Kyaraai depicts her subjects with passive expressions, indulging in the habits that make us human, whether that’s playing video games with friends, scrolling on our phones while drinking coffee, playing with toys and pets, or simply lounging in the park.


By leaving the interpretation of her subjects facial expressions up to the observer, Kyaarai’s works invite the observer to consider how these pastimes really make us feel, and where we find meaning in a world full of distractions. 

View artworks by Kyaraai