See How Japanese Sculptor Turns Wood Into Surreal Sculptures


You can find sculptures carved out of wood all over the world, some much better than others. But do you know just how much work goes into transforming wood into realistic statues? Japanese sculptor Yoshitoshi Kanemaki makes some of the most uniquely surreal sculptures carved from wood. He has lifted the veil on his work, showing the public just how much work goes into each creation.

Kanemaki’s work relies on strange characters and twisted ideas that make his creations truly stand out as one-of-a-kind. Oftentimes his characters have more than one face, granting a unique look at human identity and emotions. You can easily get lost looking at Kanemaki’s work on his Facebook page.

One of his latest sculptures features a girl with 12 faces, which he calls Ambivalence Project, “Caprice”. Kanemaki decided to take photos of his progress as the statue slowly formed into a 12-headed masterpiece.


It all starts with a crude log, from which Kanemaki must use his talent and imagination to transform.


The large piece of wood he starts out with is as far from resembling a girl with 12 heads as possible, but thanks to the reference lines he draws as he goes at the wood with chisel and saw, we are able to see how a plain tree trunk is carved into something else entirely.


Kanemaki sketches his idea for the sculpture onto paper before ever cutting into the wood. You don’t want to mess up when working with precious resources like trees. After all, we are losing trees at rapid rates and without trees we don’t have life.


Before ever working on the heads, Kanemaki sketches a body from the trunk of the tree. Slowly but surely the wood starts to look more like a lady and less like a missing piece of the forest.





Kanemaki often creates sculptures with more than one head, each face showing a slightly different expression. This girl has a wide range of expressions, and each one seems to melt into the next as if they are truly connected as opposed to separate entities.



His artwork shows great attention to detail, so that his sculptures look like real people. The wrinkles on her hands, the texture applied to the backs of her legs, even the way it looks as if her t-shirt is slightly wrinkled, it brings so much life to the final statue.

Here are some more pieces from Kanemaki’s unmatched collection of work:


This skeleton sculpture is bizarre, intriguing, and full of mystery, and it’s not the only one of its kind. Kanemaki has used skeletons in a number of his pieces.




Below is another female sculpture with many faces… some happy, some confused, and others a bit unsure. Isn’t that reality though? We may smile like we are happy or frown as if we are sad, but humans rarely (if ever) go an entire day feeling the same emotion.

Instead we experience a mix of many different feelings throughout any given day, ranging to include happiness, contentment, sadness, excitement, stress and uncertainty. Humans are vastly complicated creatures especially when it comes to emotions.



Kanemaki was born in 1972 in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. In 1999, he graduated from The Department of Sculpture, Tama Art University, Tokyo. He has since gone on to create wondrous masterpieces, good enough to earn him a number of solo exhibitions and group exhibitions.


Kanemaki has been awarded for his art in 2001, 2005, 2006, and 2008. As his work continues to gain popularity there are certainly even more awards on the horizon.


Next Up: Artist Spends One Year Alone In Forest Creating Surreal Sculptures Using All Organic Materials 

Photo Credit: BehanceFacebook