Tama Art University

Department of Sculpture

The thrill of using various materials to give birth to singular forms

The Japanese word for "sculpture", chokoku, contains the spatial concept of "cho" (or "horu": to carve) and the temporal idea of "koku" (or "kizamu": to chop). Just as old as mankind, the art of the sculpture is still being succeeded by artists around the world who keep exploring its possibilities day by day. In other words, a sculpture is a monument of space and time that continues endlessly from the past to the present and further into the future. Returning time and again to the fundamental question, "What is sculpture?", we need to keep searching for the meaning of art unconstrained by trends and customs, based on the history of all kinds of arts and techniques. The Department of Sculpture aims to foster individuals who challenge new and timeless artistic possibilities through theoretical and practical work in an ample production environment.


Extremely speaking, one may say that studying sculpture means learning everything. Any material in our environment can be a sculpting material. Working such materials into particular shapes requires certain techniques, and contained in those techniques is the entire memory of mankind. With the "encounter with matter", we explore by a primitive kind of approach how we can evoke and expand our own ideas. In the introductory first and second year courses, students work with all kinds of materials such as stone, metal, wood, clay or FRP, develop "an eye for things" and deepen their understanding of "matter and form" while exploring the relationship between materials, forms, and themselves. In the specialized third and fourth year courses that built up on the experiences of the introductory courses, students are free to choose a material and specialized studio according to their respective tasks, and produce works based an extended concept of sculpture and its possibilities. By way of various seminars, lectures, and conversations with teachers, students develop their own individual styles.

Prospects after graduation

As the concept of sculpture expands and continues to produce increasingly diverse works of art, the broad array of career options for graduates include becoming an artist or instructor, continuing studies at a graduate school, studying abroad, or joining a company. Quite a number of graduates are currently active as artists in the field of contemporary art, while those who join a company utilize the specialized skills cultivated in the Sculpture Course in various professions including automobile modelers, game developers, toy designers, TV/stage set artists, and antique art restorers among others.