Kengiro Azuma was a Japanese Italian sculptor, painter, and teacher.

Kengiro Azuma
吾妻 兼治郎 Azuma Kenjirō
Born(1926-03-12)March 12, 1926
Yamagata, Japan
DiedOctober 15, 2016(2016-10-15) (aged 90)
Milan, Italy


Azuma was born March 12, 1926 in Yamagata, Japan to a family of bronze artisans.[1] When he was 17, Azuma joined the Imperial Japanese Navy as a Kamikaze pilot, but the war ended before the time came for him to sacrifice himself. World War II and the discovery of the emperor's humanity had a great impact on the Japanese people. For Azuma personally, it created a spiritual void that pushed him towards art.[2]

From 1949 to 1953, Azuma studied sculpture at the University of Tokyo. In 1956 he moved to Italy after receiving a scholarship from the Italian government. Azuma studied at the Brera Academy in Milan where he was a student and eventually the art assistant of Marino Marini (sculptor).[3] In 1966, his work was exhibited as part of "The New Japanese Painting and Sculpture" at the MoMa in New York.[4]

Azuma lived and worked in Milan for most of his career. He continued as Marino Marini's art assistant until Marini's death in 1980.[5] From 1980 to 1990 he was a professor at the Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti. In 2015, he installed a permanent sculpture, it:MU 141, in the public square in front of the Cimitero Monumentale di Milano.

Kengiro Azuma died at his home in Milan on October 15, 2016.[6] In 2017, in honor of Azuma, the Marino Marini Foundation hosted an exhibition of Azuma's work at the it:Palazzo Fabroni.[7]


  • 1995: Awarded the Shiju-hosho Prize by the Emperor of Japan.[8] The Shiju-hosho, also called the"Medal of Honor with the Purple Ribbon", is awarded for achievements in academics or the arts.
  • 1996: Awarded the Ambrogino d'Argento by the City of Milan[9]


  1. ^ "Kengiro Azuma biography". Lorenzelli Arte. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  2. ^ "Azuma, il kamikaze che si fece scultore". Corriere Della Sera. 2015-11-16. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  3. ^ "PROFILO COMPOSITORI, AUTORI-Kengiro Azuma". Novurgìa. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  4. ^ "The New Japanese Painting and Sculpture". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  5. ^ "L'INTERVISTA/KENGIRO AZUMA". Exibart (in Italian). Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  6. ^ Madaro, Lorenzo (2016-10-15). "È morto a Milano lo scultore giapponese Kengiro Azuma. Fu allievo di Marino Marini". Artribune (in Italian). Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  7. ^ "Sculture di Kengiro Azuma nella casa di Marino Marini". FIRSTonline (in Italian). 2017-10-14. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  8. ^ "Intervista. Azuma, l'arte che risana". (in Italian). 2014-03-12. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  9. ^ "BENEMERENZE CIVICHE" (PDF). External link in |website= (help)

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