• Misako Mitsui is the eye that guides Mitsui Fine Arts. We are one of the few art dealers who offer access to works of beauty by way of the old world of Japan. We source and sell art, craft, and design from Kyoto attuned to the contemporary moment.  


    My family (Endo) and that of my late husband (Mitsui) were deeply embedded in the enlightened merchant class of Kyoto since the 18th century. Once known as the Machi-shu, this facet of society is closely involved in the Way of Tea.


    I was one of the last to have received rigorous training in the aesthetic traditions of Japan. This is because I grew up in Kyoto, spared the bombing of WWII and the subsequent rebuilding that rapidly modernized the rest of the country. In Kyoto, the old customs endured. But, because I'm an only child, my father and grandfather raised me as they might have raised a male heir to our family kimono business, imbuing me with an instinctive understanding of our art and culture.


    Although I may have been steeped in the traditions of the old way, I am no conformist. My father and grandfather raised me to elegantly break the rules of tradition. I was praised for defying convention, but only if I had done so with flair. Despite the millions of subtle rules inherent to the Way of Tea, they encouraged me to develop a skill for subverting aesthetic expectations early on. READ MORE

  • Everyone approaches art for different reasons:  
    Is it to enrich your life with art works that you
    love and to watch your collection grow? 
    Is it to adorn a home where you host events and gatherings? 
    Is it to manage your wealth while enjoying art ?
    Is it for the thrill of collecting? 
    Is it for the pleasure felt when a certain piece sparks a connection?


    Mitsui Fine Art Inc.’s approach to art is informed by a centuries old principle from the Way of Tea, called Toriawase. The ultimate goal of Toriawase is to search for an elegant harmony between objects in a space. It is an art of arrangement, which considers all forms of fine art, design, and craft on an equal plane. Intuitively, one practices it without knowing. Yet, when the principle is revealed, it will feel as if a fog has been lifted. 


    Toriawase will become a philosophy for understanding the objects that you choose to compose your surroundings. It can be as simple as the humble unity of serving lunch on a warm summer day with a stoneware bowl and a glass cup. It can be as grand as composing your entire home into a unified aesthetic statement. Mitsui Fine Arts will serve as your guide into the world of Toriawase, and your search for art will become a quest closely intertwined with yourself. The pieces you choose, in the end, will articulate who you are. 

  • Experience


    Misako Mitsui of Mitsui Fine Arts Inc. is a leading art dealer, art advisor, lecturer and curator with 30 years of experience. We work with collectors, art connoisseurs, scholars, museums, and universities.


    Portland Art Museum
    Stanford University
    Asian Art Museum in San Francisco
    DeYoung Museum.
    curated exhibitions:  
    Zuancho in Kyoto, Stanford University, CA  
    Toriawase, Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA
    Beyond Craft, Craft Museum, San Francisco.
    Lecture and teaching:
  • FAMILY HISTORY CONTINUED: I understand history, with a rigor and depth only available to someone from my unusual position. But I do not fear to approach it with curiosity and playfulness. My work does not only continue the life of history, but allows others to live through and advance upon it. Through my eclectic inventory of objects and paintings, I offer the chance to become a part of the evolving story of an ancient aesthetic tradition.


    Early in my career, however, I deliberately took a break from Japanese art. I spent five years exploring French and Chinese art, along with modern and contemporary American art, until I felt confident in returning to my roots with an expanded view. Since then, I've renewed longstanding relationships with a tea master and private art dealers back in Kyoto, who became mentors and provided entrance into Japan’s cloistered art market. I feel fortunate to be among the few granted rare access to this market.


    The time feels right for Mitsui Fine Arts to connect a new audience with the Japanese artworks I have known all my life. Today, I sense a highly sophisticated appetite for works of art, craft, and design attuned with the high culture of old Kyoto - and a desire to enjoy them comfortably in contemporary life. BACK