Hajime Sorayama in his studio - Image via andronikiphotosheltercom

Hajime Sorayama

Japan 1947



Hajime Sorayama
Hajime Sorayama
May 24, 2017
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

Predicting the future, Hajime Sorayama announces the world of seductive robotic women through his imaginative and highly accomplished paintings in the hyper-realistic style. Creating art that has always been ahead of their time, during the 1970’s his characters came from the 21st century, bringing the aura of the robotic, mythic and fantastical world of imagination. His range of achievements is equally spectacular, with unprecedented acclaim from the most prominent museum institutions, collectors, and clients. Using a specialized brush designed by the artist himself, pencil and acrylic paint, this Japanese artist is widely respected for his perfect technique, proving himself as a master of his domain.

This japanese artist is known for his series of robots and free female sexy figures. sorayama's arts search for fashion female characters
Hajime Sorayama – Untitled

Early life and First Robot Painting

Sorayama was born in 1947 in Imabari, Ehime prefecture in Japan where he had finished Imabari Kita High School. Early interested in drawing, he started to create images inspired by Playboy pin-ups. After he read a book by Makoto Oda I’ll go and see everything (Nandemo Mite yaro) in which the writer describes his travels through Europe and Asia, Sorayama decided to study English literature and Greek language at Shikoku Gakuin University. Founding the school paper named Pink Journal, its content was criticized by both teachers and other students, so he moved to the Chubi Central Art School in Tokyo to study art. After his graduation at the age of only 21, he started to work for an advertising agency and, gaining enough experience, he decided to try as a freelance illustrator in 1972. His first robot appeared in 1978 when his friend, designer Hara Koichi asked him to draw something based on C-3PO from Star Wars. Managing to coordinate his work in fine art, illustration, and industrial design, Sorayama separated this three kinds of expression, considering illustration as something not connected with emotion, but with experience that comes from logical thinking. “Art is a kind of tenacity, an insistence upon asserting your own originality. By contrast, superrealism deals with the technical issue of how close one can get to one’s object.[1]

Hajime Sorayama created his first robot in 1978

Artworks inspired by robots by Hajime Sorayama
Hajime Sorayama – Untitled (Left) / Untitled (Right)

More Than Just Erotica Illustration

In 1983, he published his first book Sexy Robot which enabled his organic robotic forms to become famous and recognizable worldwide. Starting with the ideas from pin-up art, he represented his so-called gynoids, half-metal, half-human creatures. The first book was followed by the second one, Pin-up, in the same manner. His oeuvre now includes numerous books published throughout his career. Creating highly realistic depictions in latex and leather, their popularity grew, so he started to make illustrations for the pages of Penthouse magazine and Playboy TV, television special dedicated to his art. Besides paper pieces, in 1985 he released the Illustration Video, which announced his later engagement for the films Brain Dead (1992), Timecop (1994), and Space Trucker (1995). Sorayama designed also the trading cards, limited edition prints, covers for Aerosmith’s 2001 album and produced an initial idea for what would later become Sony’s dog-like robotic pet, the AIBO which went to market in 1999. Respected as a founder of airbrush technique, Sorayama’s hyper-realistic artful depictions of sensual metallic qualities of robots are firmly established his reputation. “In pursuit of hyper-realism, I use the airbrush in a way that naturally depicts minute details of human skin, lips, eyeballs, hair, even individual body hair, or the feel of leather or silk clothes, the metallicity of the robot, the reflection of light.[2]

Sorayama achieved his hyper-realistic style by using the airbrush technique

Hajime Sorayama - Octopus - Image via listalcom
Hajime Sorayama – Octopus

Awards and Recognitions

Sorayama was a recipient of the Grand Prize of Best Design award for his first-generation AIBO design in 2000 and his little robotic dog was included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Smithsonian Institution. His very remarkable cooperation with Hollywood filmmakers on various science and fiction projects resulted in an engagement by Star Wars creator George Lucas to design a spread of Twi’ek and droid fantasy Star Wars pin-ups for a tribute book named Star Wars Art Concept. His first solo exhibition in front of the American audience has been held at the Tamara Bane Gallery, California in 1994. Existing in the global scene which still explores its possibilities, challenging the relation between art and design, Hajime Sorayama is definitely the artist who could provide answers.

Hajime Sorayama lives and works in Tokyo.

  1. Anonymous. Hajime Sorayama pin-up artist, The Pun-Up Files [September 18, 2016]
  2. Anonymous. (2010) Hajime Sorayama “Solo Exhibition”, Nanzuka [September 18, 2016]

Featured image: Hajime Sorayama in his studio – Image via androniki.photoshelter.com
All other images courtesy of the artist, copyright Hajime Sorayama

YearExhibition TitleMuseum/GallerySolo/Group
2016SorayamaJacob Lewis Gallery, New York, NY, USASolo
2016An actress is not a machine, but they treat you like a machine.NANZUKA, Tokyo, Japan Solo
2016DesireMoore Building, Miami, FL, USAGroup
2016TENGAI 3.0hpgrp GALLERY NEW YORK, New York, NY, USAGroup
2016The Universe and ArtMori Art Museum, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2016ALLOY & PEACESpiral, Tokyo, Japan Group
2015AISHONANZUKAHong Kong, ChinaSolo
2015Hajime SorayamaLittle High, Tokyo, JapanSolo
2015Hajime SorayamaFIFTY24SF GALLERY, San Francisco, CA, USA Solo
2015UnorthodoxThe Jewish Museum, New York, NY, USAGroup
2015Exhibition of Mythical beast ⅡBunkamura, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2015The Aesthetics of Fantasy - Japanese Erotica in Contemporary ArtBunkamura, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2015Here is ZINE tokyo 10Tokyo Cultuart BEAMS, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2015FELIX THE CAT - Cats Out Of The BagSLOW CULTURE, Los Angeles, CA, USA Group
2014Stussy Guest Artist Series - HAJIME SORAYAMA ExhibitionTokyo, Japan Solo
2014LEATHER JAPAN 2014New York, NY, USAGroup
2014Amalia Ulman + Hajime Sorayama ExhibitionLondon, UKGroup
2014JAPAN EROTICAMusee de lerotisme, Paris, FranceGroup
2014with Hello KittyMDP GALLERY, SPACE M, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2014PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! KILL!Vanilla Gallery/Kinokuniya Gallery, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2014O's storybilliken Gallery, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2014atrocity beautyVanilla Gallery, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2014HORIYOSHI THE THIRD x Hajime SorayamaGalleria Harajuku, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2014KITAHARA COLLECTIONTakamatsu city museum of Art, Takamatsu, JapanGroup
2014UnknownSpan Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan Group
2013AISHONANZUKAHong Kong, ChinaSolo
2013Hajime Sorayama x graniph Exhibitiongraniph Harajuku Gallery, Tokyo, Japan Solo
2013The Pop Surrealism ShowOpera Gallery, New York, NY, USAGroup
2013UKIYOE Roman ExhibitionSpan Art Gallery, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2013ALICE Fantasy tale exhibitionBunkamura, Tokyo, Japan Group
2012Cosmic Fusion IIIO museum, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2012The ObsessionArt 5th Anniversary ExhibitionThe Gallery in Cork Street, London, UKGroup
2012Artist's book by Treville 1985-2012Kinokuniya Gallery, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2012Monsterbilliken Gallery, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2012Japanese Erotic ArtstsJinbocho Gallery, Tokyo, Japan Group
2011Hajime Sorayama : 1970-2010Gering & Lopeg Gallery, New York, NY, USASolo
2011NEO DISCIPLINESpan Art Gallery, Tokyo, JapanSolo
2011Neo Japonism & Obsession, TOKYO CULTUART by BEAMSB GALLERY, Tokyo, Japan Solo
2011Here is ZINE tokyo 2Tokyo Cultuart BEAMS, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2011Hamamatsu Municipal Museum of Art 40th Anniversary Special Exhibition, Hamamatsu Municipal Museum of Art, Shizuoka, JapanGroup
2011MärchenismThe Tobu Department Store Gallery, Tokyo, Japan Group
2010Hajime SorayamaNANZUKA UNDERGROUND, Tokyo, JapanSolo
2010Hajime SorayamaSpan Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan Solo
2010CODE : EROTICABunkamura, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2010KITAHARA COLLECTIONMori Arts Center Gallery, Tokyo, Japan Group
2009Almost There - Time Tunnel Series Vol.29G8, Tokyo, Japan Group
2008Hajime SorayamaOpera Gallery, New York, NY, USASolo
2008Hajime SorayamaWEAM, Miami, FL, USA Solo
2008CARNIVORAFUSE Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2008CARNIVORAL'Imagerie Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2008CARNIVORACPOP Gallery, Detroit, MI, USA Group
2007EROTOVISIONMondo Bizzarro Gallery, Rome, Italy Solo
200720th Anniversary Exhibitions - Graphics & MessagesGGG, Tokyo, Japan Group
2006UnknownGinza Recruit Gallery, Tokyo, Japan Group
2005Hysteric Mini 20th Anniversary Art ExhibitionTokyo, Osaka, Hong KongSolo
2005Hajime SorayamaShow Room, New York, NY, USA Solo
2005Winter Invitational Art Large, New York, NY, USA Group
2003Hajime SorayamaGinza Graphic Gallery, Tokyo, Osaka, Japan Solo
2002Hajime SorayamaBape Gallery, Tokyo, Japan Solo
1999Hajime SorayamaTamara Bane Gallery, Los Angels, CA, USA Solo
1998Hajime SorayamaTamara Bane Gallery, Los Angels, CA, USASolo
1998Hajime SorayamaECR, Cologne, Germany Solo
1997Forum--GelandeCastrop-Rauxel, Germany Group
1994Hajime SorayamaUP'S GallerySolo
1994Hajime SorayamaTamara Bane Gallery, Los Angels, CA, USASolo
1994Hajime Sorayamathe Castlegate Hotel and Conference Center, Atlanta, GA, USA Solo
1989UnknownFerrari Hall, Munich, Germany Group
1988Hajime SorayamaThe Seibu Department Store Gallery, Hakodate, Japan Solo