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See Japan’s hand-crafted creativity under one roof

by Magdalena Osumi

Staff Writer

Legend has it that the first Hakata ningyō (handmade clay Japanese clay figurines) were created to be presented to Kuroda Nagamasa, the then newly appointed feudal lord who served under Tokugawa Ieyasu during the Edo Period (1603-1868). Like Hakata dolls, the stories behind hand-crafted ornaments and goods make them that little bit more personal, especially today in a world of manufactured goods. The Hand Made in Japan Festival at Tokyo Big Sight celebrates modern crafts and their craftsmen by introducing more than 3,000 creators and artists.

The festival offers visitors the chance to peruse a wide array of arts and crafts, watch demonstrations and purchase goods within three areas of the Tokyo Big Sight complex. At the Atrium, visitors can participate in around 20 themed workshops and learn how to craft artworks and accessories using a variety of materials, such as embroidery and felting.

The Creators’ area at the facility’s West Exhibition Hall No. 2 houses a market of 2,200 booths, offering original works from fashion accessories to decorative homeware. Visitors will also have the opportunity to create their own goods under the guidance of craftsmen representing various regions in Japan. Other attractions include large-scale live-painting sessions by illustrators, and a Music and Play area where live concerts and performances by various artists — including Nozaki Ryota (Jazztronik), pop and rock group Elekibass, and professional wrestlers — will take place.

Various foods and drinks from Japan’s different regions will also be available from a number of stalls.

Hand Made in Japan Fes 2014 takes place on July 19 and 20, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Tokyo Big Sight in Ariake, Tokyo Bay. One-day tickets are ¥1,000, and two-day passes are ¥1,800. For more information, visit hmj-fes.jp.