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

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


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]


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