About ten years ago I was wandering around Japan when I saw some postcards of these driftwood figures in a shop down a narrow street in a suburb of Tokyo. I couldn't resist picking up a few, and since then I've tried to find more information about the artists, with little sucess. On the back of the postcard there is a poem in Japanese, and the object/poem are credited to Kamioka Manabu, with the photo credit given to Kamioka Kinue. From what little I've found, they are a husband and wife team, and also appear to have published a children's book.
But that's all. No more information, except in Japanese, which unfortunately I don't speak. Except to say things like "Hello, it is humid," which isn't really helpful to my search. But there is something in these driftwood sculptures that moves me, something that keeps making me pull my album off the shelf every now and then and wonder a little more about the stories behind them. I am forced to make up my own poems and stories, since I can't read the originals. For some of the figures, the stories are sad, and I can hear the plaintive sounds of a whispery japanese flute playing in the background of my mind when I look at them. For some, the stories sing like small birds as they beat their wings, fluttering my heart.
I have managed to find a few museums with online displays of their work, but none with English translations of the poetry; one gallery can be found here.