Bumpei Akaji

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Bumpei Akaji, Cyparissus, copper and brass, 1968, Hawaii State Art Museum

Bumpei Akaji (1921 – 2002) was an American sculptor. He was born in Lawai, on the Hawaiian island of Kauai in 1921. In 1943 he joined the United States Army and was sent to Italy with the 100th Battalion of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He was inspired by the artwork in Florence and received a discharge in Italy. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence and at the Academia de Belle Arti, Brera, in Milan on a Fulbright Scholarship. In 1950, he returned to Honolulu and in 1951 received a Master of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Along with Satoru Abe, Edmund Chung, Tetsuo Ochikubo, Jerry T. Okimoto, James Park, and Tadashi Sato, Bumpei Akaji was a member of the Metcalf Chateau, a group of seven Asian-American artists with ties to Honolulu.[1]

Akaji learned welding from a local mechanic and is now best known for his large-scale welded copper and brass sculptures, which are both organic and abstract in nature, as typified by Cyparissus,. The welded and/or pounded surfaces of his sculptures are often warm and sensual and over time develop a unique patina. He died in 2002. The Hawaii State Art Museum and the Honolulu Museum of Art are among the public collections holding work by Bumpei Akaji. His sculptures in public places include:


  • Morse, Marcia, Legacy: Facets of Island Modernism, Honolulu, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2001, ISBN 978-0-937426-48-7, pp. 13, 34-39
  • Radford, Georgia and Warren Radford, "Sculpture in the Sun, Hawaii's Art for Open Spaces", University of Hawaii Press, 1978, 91.
  • Yoshihara, Lisa A., Collective Visions, 1967-1997, Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1997, 145.


  1. ^ Matsumoto, Lacy, “Hawaii artist honors late friend with exhibition - Satoru Abe to show his work alongside pieces by Jerry Okimoto at Nu'uanu Gallery”, Honolulu Advertiser, July 28, 2008, D1