Etsuro Sotoo

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Etsuro Sotoo (born 1953 in Fukuoka Prefecture) is a Japanese sculptor strongly influenced by Antoni Gaudí. His interest in Gaudi led him to convert to the Roman Catholic Church. His most noted work are sculptures located in the Sagrada Família in Barcelona.


Door of the Charity at the Nativity Facade of the Sagrada Família, by Etsuro Sotoo (detail)

In 1978 Etsuro Sotoo visited Barcelona and was impressed by the Sagrada Familia. He worked as a stonecutter and also on the Nativity façade, following the instructions left by Antoni Gaudí. Among other figures there were sculptures made of angels musicians and singers children the Nativity façade and fruit baskets that crown the pinnacles of the temple. He has also designed the doors installed on the Nativity facade of polychrome aluminum and glass, decorated with plants, insects and small animals. He has also made four gargoyles to be installed in the towers of the Evangelists, currently under construction. Sotoo was also commissioned to restore the sculptures of the Porta del Rosari, damaged in the Spanish Civil War. He also worked on the design of tubular bells installed in Gaudí thought bell towers of the three facades of the Sagrada Familia. He is also author of a monument commemorating the 150th anniversary of the signature Louis Vuitton in Barbera del Valles (2004) and Memorial Angel Lace (2003) in Arenys de Munt and sculpture of Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer (2004) in the Montalegre church for Barcelona. In Japan, author of Birth (1985) and The Old Man and the Girl (1988) in the Art Museum Chohachi Matsuzaki and sculptures Pineapples (1993) at the Stadium of Fukuoka and Five Elements (1997) at the Institute of Fukuoka monument of 1500 m² dedicated to water, the wind, the sky, fire and earth. Sotoo was a visiting professor of Kyushu University User Science Institute, School of Engineering Main Building and ambassador of Kesennuma, Rias Sanriku (Japan). He was also vice president of the Nipon Center of Canet de Mar.


  • His study of and admiration for Gaudí led him, at age 37, to convert to Catholicism.
  • In his native Japan he is nicknamed the "Japanese Gaudí".


Sotoo Etsuro (2010). Vertical Freedom. Conversations on the Sagrada Familia . ISBN 978-84-9920-062-0.

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