Fine pencil artist
Norio Shinoda was born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1947. In 2007, he held an exhibit entitled “Line Maze II: A Melody of Pencil and Graphite” at the Meguro Museum of Art, Tokyo. In 2008, he edited and created the pencil art for Kami to Hotoke no Michi wo Aruku, a visual volume in the Shueisha Shinso series edited by the Association of Shinto and Buddhist Sacred Sites. He held an exhibit entitled “The World of Pencil Drawings” at Chukyo University’s C. Square. In 2014, he appeared on Burari Tochugesha no Tabi on NTV, Gyappujin on NTV, Osaka Honwaka Terebi on YTV, and L4You! on TV Tokyo, among other programs. In 2016, his work appeared in the 20th Atlas of Japanese Art (The Crowned Maitreya), which was published to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of Shogakukan. In 2017, he donated “Nachi Waterfall: Digital Edition” to Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine. He also donated a paper design featuring a drawing of Nachi Waterfall with a commemorative red seal to Rotary Club of Nachikatsuura on the 1,700th anniversary of the founding of Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine. He’s held numerous other personal exhibits.
I first visited Kumano in July 2008 during a trip at a friend’s invitation to view Kozagawa’s Kochi Festival. As I was gazing out at the Kumano Sea from the window of our train on the Kisei Main Line, a volcanic shoreline came into view, and I thought to myself, how odd, when there are no volcanoes on the Kii Peninsula. This was the beginning of my fascination with the Kumano. By chance, I ran into a local geologist at the festival, and when I asked him about the volcanic shoreline I had seen from the train window, he explained that the area was home to enormous caldera craters such as the Kumano caldera crater 14 million years ago, and that their traces could be found throughout the area, for example in the form of Nachi Waterfall and Hashigui-iwa Rock. Ever since, I've wondered whether perhaps the Oto Matsuri Festival at Kamikura-jinja Shrine and Nachi-no-Ogi Matsuri(Nachi Fire Festival) at Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine were originally derived from volcanic activity in the area. The most difficult thing to forget about Kumano is the warmth of the residents with whom I’ve had the pleasure of interacting there. That warmth may well underpin the unending appeal of Kumano.