GEORGE TSUTAKAWA

Asian Hall of Fame – Class of 2004

Painter, Sculptor

George Tsutakawa spent much of his childhood in Okayama, Japan. At the age of 16, Tsutakawa began high school in the United States before earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of
Washington.

Tsutakawa was drafted to the U.S. Army during World War II, serving a four-year tour as a Japanese language instructor at the Army’s Military Intelligence School. His time abroad provided greater exposure to the world of contemporary art. Upon his return to the U.S., Tsutakawa enrolled in a Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Washington.

After receiving his MFA, Tsutakawa was recruited to a faculty position at the University of Washington School of Art in 1947 and later began teaching courses at the School of Architecture.

Using a range of mediums over his 60-year professional career, Tsutakawa explored the relationship of man to nature. Tsutakawa became well-known for his more than 75 major bronze fountain sculptures set in public spaces in the U.S., Japan, and Canada.

He was awarded with Honorary Doctorates from Whitman College and Seattle University, as well as the Order of the Rising Sun decoration from the Emperor of Japan. Tsutakawa and wife Ayame had four children before his passing in 1997.