Tama Art University

President's message

Igarashi Takenobu


New Challenges

Today the tides of globalization are sweeping the world, while at the same time simmering resentments are giving rise to attitudes of ethnic and religious intolerance. The information society around us is undergoing dramatic transformations, with new technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence) rapidly emerging. Of course, art is by no means untouched by these seismic shifts in the environment. At Tama Art University we pride ourselves on having stood at the forefront of the latest developments in art throughout our more than 80-year history, but as the pace of change accelerates in today’s society, we are now strengthening our will to continue taking on new challenges, and renewing our determination to fulfill a mission unique to this university.

In the past, universities were often criticized as ivory towers, where a select few pursued learning for learning’s sake, or art for art’s sake, far removed from social realities and producing no tangible benefits for the wider world. However, I do not seek to downplay the important role these so-called ivory towers have played. For a university, to positively fulfill its mission in society does not necessarily mean pandering to the dominant forces or jumping on the latest bandwagon. It does, however, require adopting a critical stance at times, and maintaining an independent spirit, capable of discerning core values that ought to be preserved over the years no matter how things change.

At the same time, it is crucial to have the flexibility to engage with a society that is not only evolving but also diversifying, and the breadth of vision to take on a variety of challenges. At Tama Art University, we are pursuing educational programs that cultivate the versatility to deal appropriately with a wide range of situations, in the form of PBL (Project-Based Learning) that transcends the boundaries of specialized academic disciplines.

Tama Art University is a close-knit community of individuals who each strive towards their own path in art and design. Our motto has been “Freedom and Will”—this will surely inspire youth to share the same ambition, encourage active research and creative endeavors, and will offer support to those who embark on their careers in society. We have the highest expectations for the enthusiastic and dedicated young people who are currently seeking entrance to this university, their eyes firmly fixed on the future.

President's Profile


10th President of Tama Art University, 2015-present
Art critic and Poet

  • Born in Kyoto, Japan, 1947
  • Graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from Waseda University, Tokyo, 1972
  • Associate Professor in the Department of Art Studies, Faculty of Art and Design, Tama Art University, 1991-1995
  • Professor in the Department of Art Studies, Faculty of Art and Design, Tama Art University, 1995-2005
  • Visiting Professor in the Department of Art Studies, Faculty of Art and Design, Tama Art University, 2005-2015
  • Director, The National Museum of Art, Osaka, 2005-2011
  • President, Kyoto City University of Arts, 2011-2015
  • Director, The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, 2011-present.
  • President, Tama Art University, 2015-present.

President Tatehata’s area of specialization is modern and contemporary art criticism. He has been involved with numerous international art exhibitions, including his roles as the Japanese commissioner for the Venice Biennale (1990 and 1993), artistic director of the 1st Yokohama Triennale (2001), and artistic director of the Aichi Triennale (2010). He has participated in the planning of numerous Asian modern and contemporary art projects. President Tatehata is also active as a poet.

Selected Bibliography

  • Yohaku no ranna (Runners in the Margins), Shichosha Publishing, 1991.
    *Received 2nd Rekitei New Poet award
  • Sono hamingu wo shimo (Humming that Tune), Shichosha Publishing, 1993.
  • Patorikku seiki (Century of Patrick), Shichosha Publishing, 1996.
  • Toinaki kaito obuje to chokoku (Answers without Questions: Objet and Sculpture), Goryu Books, 1998.
  • Mikan no kako kaiga to modanizumu (The Incomplete Past: Paintings and Modernism), Goryu Books, 2000.
  • Runners in the Margins, Middletown Springs, VT: P.S., A Press, 2003.
  • Reido no inu (The Dog of Zero degrees), Shoshiyamada Publishing, 2004.
    *Received 35th Takami Jun award
  • Daburin no midori (The Greenery of Dublin), Goryu Books, 2005.
  • Shigo no ressun (Lesson of Dead Language), Shichosha Publishing, 2013.
    *Received 21st Hagiwara Sakutaro Award