Fascinated by African art and culture? Meet Esther Meeuwissen, who followed her Dutch husband to Fukuoka a decade ago as he took up a job in the UN-Habitat Fukuoka Office. Realizing early on that many Japanese had a keen interest in her background, Esther found herself promoting African culture by giving Kenyan cooking lessons and teaching Swahili. In the past few years her focus has shifted to selling African art: not tourist-orientated curios, but authentic pieces (25+ years), available at her home or by order. While Esther doesn’t bargain (this isn’t Africa, after all!), she offers good value. Prices range from 3,600 yen for small pieces to 50,000 yen for larger ones, including exquisite masks and sculptures, which add a unique tribal touch to any interior! Her next goal is to display the collection in galleries and shops. For more info, contact her at email@example.com or 092-831-0731 (evenings only).
Hometown: Kakamega, Kenya
In Japan: 10 years
Identity: African art collector/distributor
Originally published in Fukuoka Now magazine (fn103, Jul. 2007)