NEO MANEKINEKO Porcelain clay (Amakusa pottery stone) Fukuoka, Japan 2021~

While visiting New York, Koga unexpectedly spotted a "Maneki-neko" (beckoning cat) in a shop that seemed to have no apparent connection to Japan. The conspicuous presence of this cultural icon, even amidst a foreign backdrop, served as an enlightening experience for him, leading to the genesis of this series. Koga's artistic style is rooted in the classical forms of Japanese art. Take, for example, his signature piece "Hoo Yoroi Hai" (Cheek Armor Cup). While it takes its cues from the "alternative helmets" of the Warring States-era warlords, it has been reinvented with a contemporary twist. Koga incorporates his own perspective of modern society as a "concept" into his work, and this approach is evident in his take on the beckoning cat as well. This iteration of the Maneki-neko is inspired by the classic form but adorned with the Cheek Armor Cup - a symbol intended to inspire ambitious young individuals. Thus, while retaining the traditional role that the Maneki-neko has played, Koga's creation introduces fresh elements, offering a contemporary reimagining of this iconic figure for today's world.