Collecting and Investing in Undervalued Japanese Artists

Collecting and Investing in Undervalued Japanese Artists

b-407_japanese_calligraphy.jpgMany of you may not remember the art market correction of the early nineties but the Japanese sure do. The art market boom of the late 80’s was partly driven by wealthy Japanese who had a voracious appetite for Impressionist works because of the prestige associated with owning a famous painting and the usefulness of artworks as a form of tradable currency at a time when property prices were sky high.

When the Japanese economy began to head south in 1990 the wealthy Japanese buyers stopped buying art which left a big gap in the market and caused people to begin to question the world art market boom. As the financial crisis began to worsen all around the world the value of the artworks that the Japanese had paid exorbitant amounts of money for rapidly declined leaving a whole lot of remorseful Japanese stuck with artworks worth a lot less than they had paid for them.

The Japanese art market continues to suffer from the repercussions of the art market correction as the Japanese continue to avoid buying art for fear of a repeat disaster. With so many talented Japanese artists just waiting to be discovered investors and collectors outside of Japan are beginning to take advantage of the situation and are starting to move in. What is traditionally an isolated and insulated market has been forced to open up to the rest of the world in order to take advantage of the appetite for Asian art.

With plenty of catching up to do with the rest of the art market, Japanese art is currently extremely undervalued and is only just starting to build some momentum so now is the time to start buying. If the Japanese won’t take advantage of their own highly talented artists then there are plenty of collectors and investors who will.

Below is a list of Japanese artists that you should seriously consider investing in :

Yoshitomo Nara
Hisashi Tenmyouya
Yayoi Kusama
Kumi Machida
Koichi Enomoto.
Fukuyo Matsui
Ai Yamaguchi
Makoto Aida
Tsujikawa Koichiro
Namiko Kitaura
Hiraki Sawa

Nick**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

10 Responses

  1. yoshimoto nara, undervalued? seriously?

  2. Hi the enablist,

    Yes, seriously. There is still plenty of room for movement with Yoshimoto Nara although not as much as some of the emerging Japanese artists.

    Nicholas Forrest

  3. There is value in Nara’s work, definitely, as there is long term growth potential. However to get in the door, one must be ready to pony $15k + for smaller drawings. I believe that takes Nara out of emerging and into the established category.

    While your listing is good, you are missing a couple standouts

    tomoko konoike
    Tomokazu Matsuyama
    hideaki kawashima
    hiroshi sugimoto
    Chiho Aoshima
    aya takano

  4. […] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerptCollecting and Investing in Undervalued Japanese Artists. Many of you may not remember the art market correction of the early nineties but the Japanese sure do. The art market boom of the late 80’s was partly driven by wealthy Japanese … […]

  5. Thanks for adding to the list of artists, the enablist. I am sure that the list would go on forever if everyone added their favourites though.

    Nicholas Forrest

  6. I was stationed in Japan for 4yrs, but before I left in 1998 I bought some paintings. The artist is either won t or wan t. I was just wondering if they were worth anything. Thanks for your time.

  7. Does anyone know about a Japanese artist named Rojin IMAI? My in-laws were stationed in Toyko in the early 1950’s and became friendly with this artist. Imai gave my in-laws at least three of his works, all signed, and these are now in the possession of my wife and I. Would there be any value in Imai’s works?

  8. こんにちは、ヴォイス・オブ・インディア(VOI)編集部です。






  9. Nicholas you must get many artists read here.

    May I put this here for them?

  10. Dear Mr Forrest, do you know of any contemporary Japanese artists whose subjects include the female nude, executed in black ink on paper in the classical style? I have one such drawing, but it has nothing super-flat or anime about it, in fact it is quite naturalistic, and the drawing is quite tender. Unfortunately I cannot make out the signature since I don’t read Japanese.

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