Furniture designer Mira Nakashima creates unique table presented to Japanese Prime Minister

    Renowned furniture designer and New Hope resident Mira Nakashima, head designer at George Nakashima Woodworkers, was recently called upon by the US State Department to create a very special piece of furniture for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the first Japanese leader to visit the US as a state guest in nine years.

    As she contemplated the design for the commission of an official gift, she could not help thinking back to how things had changed from when she and her family were forcibly relocated to Camp Minidoka, an American internment camp for people of Japanese ancestry in Hunt, Idaho from 1942-1943.

    Eighty-two-year-old Mira was just three years old when her father George opened a woodworking studio in New Hope to find work and fulfillment, following the family’s release from the internment camp.

    Mira, a trained architect, and Harvard graduate who has worked in the family business since 1970, as well as heading the Nakashima Foundation for Peace, produces her father’s iconic designs as well as her own custom-designed, hand-crafted furniture.

    For the official gift to Japanese Prime Minister Kishida, who was born in Hiroshima and as a result, has been a lifelong anti-nuclear peace advocate, Mira created a handmade three-legged table crafted from Pennsylvania black walnut wood presented with a plaque to commemorate the Prime Minister’s visit.

    The beautiful “Wepman” style ovoid-shaped table with three turned legs has a unique swirling grain pattern of the Pennsylvania black walnut reminiscent of the way a distant galaxy looks in the sky.

    It is highly unusual, as it has a “free” (natural) edge all the way around its perimeter because it was cut on a diagonal when the highly skilled sawyers custom-milled the log.

    “I am grateful to work with a team of highly skilled woodworkers, designers and finishers who all collaborated to create a very special table for the Prime Minister of Japan,” Mira said. “It was an honor to be invited to create a gift for President Joseph and Dr. Jill Biden to present to Prime Minister Fumio and his wife Yuko Kishida.”

    Mira also crafted a piece for another US President, a beautiful small freeform black walnut coffee table in the shape of a Nakashima Peace Table for President Barack Obama, adding a special inscription to the Obamas underneath.

    After the delivery of the Japanese Prime Minister’s gift, Mira and her husband, craftsman Jonathan Yarnall, were among the invited guests at the White House state dinner with Prime Minister Kishida in Washington, D.C. on April 10th.

    The star-studded gala was also attended by Paul Simon, who performed “Graceland”, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

    Mira recently published “The Nakashima Process Book”, which lights a path into what makes Nakashima furniture unique and features original sketches, the philosophy behind George Nakashima’s masterpieces, along with family history.

    PHOTO CAP: Table designed by Mira Nakashima for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

    5 2 votes
    Article Rating
    Notify of
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x