About Ema

Artist - Art Historian

As a bicultural Japanese-American artist, there are no clear boxes for what components are distinctly from one culture or the other. What I paint ranges from rice balls I grew up eating for lunch to segments of Japanese Catholic hymns - all of which represent my personal, cultural, and religious background.  My painting β€œlanguage” comes from Western tradition of modeling and shading, though I may speak with Japanese sumi ink and pigments on handmade kozo paper.

My process incorporates these multifaceted influences; I start with the meditative ritual of grinding ink with a Japanese ink slab, along with prayer. I then pay careful attention to an accurate rendering without overcrowding a space, and eventually finish with a hand-painted signature rather than a Japanese seal. 

While explicit distinctions are unnecessary, through painting I can process, reflect, and share this mixed heritage with others. I invite the viewer to come along my journey of exploring, struggling, but mostly celebrating diverse backgrounds, which I personally find to be equal parts awkward and beautiful.


Japanese folk art, woodblock prints, textile patterns, church history, Age of Exploration, travel


M.A. Japanese Art History, San Francisco State University

B.F.A. Painting and Drawing, Biola University