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Yoko Haruhara

For Yoko Haruhara's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

The maven of Japanese sword fittings

Nov 21, 2017

The maven of Japanese sword fittings

The special exhibition "Pinnacle of Elegance: Sword Fittings of the Mitsumura Collection" at the Nezu Museum offers a fascinating look at the collection that Toshimo Mitsumura (1877-1955), a wealthy businessman, amassed at the end of the Meiji Era (1868-1912). Mitsumura's passion for swords is ...

The sweet  artworks of Tetsuya Nagata

Jul 2, 2017

The sweet artworks of Tetsuya Nagata

Osaka-born artist Tetsuya Nagata has found a unique way to breathe new life into two time-honored crafts of Japan — washi (Japanese paper) and wagashi (Japanese sweets). By pressing Nishinouchi washi into carved wooden molds that were originally used for shaping sugar, he creates delicate ...

Keeping up with the Joneses, Edo style

May 9, 2017

Keeping up with the Joneses, Edo style

The Edo Period (1603-1868) is renowned for the flourishing of material culture — a time when major advances and innovations in Japanese folk crafts and design were prized by the burgeoning commoner class of Edo (present-day Tokyo) and Osaka. "The Golden Age of Mingei: Life ...

Maruyama Okyo melded styles to pioneer a new path in art

Nov 15, 2016

Maruyama Okyo melded styles to pioneer a new path in art

The 18th century was an exciting time for Japan. After unification in 1603, a remarkable spirit of innovation pervaded as urban centers grew and the arts flourished. The creativity came despite a policy of sakoku that the ruling Tokugawa shogunate enacted in 1633 to close ...

The Korean roots beneath Japan's folk art movement

May 3, 2016

The Korean roots beneath Japan's folk art movement

The folk craft movement in Japan owes a great debt to Soetsu Yanagi (1889-1961), who coined the term "mingei" ("folk crafts") in 1925. Yanagi pioneered the notion that Japan's vernacular crafts had their own intrinsic artistic worth, and should be valued, collected and curated. ...

Behind the scenes of ukiyo-e prints

Sep 8, 2015

Behind the scenes of ukiyo-e prints

Everyday life in Edo (present-day Tokyo) was befitting of a capital city — an era of beautiful women, graceful kabuki actors, bustling streets and breathtaking sights. The peace and stability imposed by the Edo Period (1603-1868) Tokugawa Shogunate allowed the city to flourish and ...

The Edo samurai knew how to look sharp

Jun 30, 2015

The Edo samurai knew how to look sharp

'The World of Edo Dandyism: From Swords to Inro" at the Nezu Museum is a splendid collection of Edo Period (1603-1868) swords and sword accessories that includes blades, scabbards and metal fittings, as well as decorative sets of inrō (pill boxes) and netsuke (carved ...

Transforming the splendor of Japanese art

Sep 25, 2014

Transforming the splendor of Japanese art

Every culture treasures its arts, and art museums are at the forefront of art preservation, engaging curators and specialists to ensure works remain as faithful to the originals as possible. Japan, however, has a long cultural and philosophical tradition that runs counter to the contemporary ...

When it came to horror, ukiyo-e artists kept their wits about them

Jul 10, 2014

When it came to horror, ukiyo-e artists kept their wits about them

This exhibition showcases more than 250 Japanese woodblock prints of the Edo Period (1603-1868), depicting ghosts, goblins and other supernatural beings. The lurid subject matter, a graphic illustration of the shadowy spirit underworld, is as delightful as it is ghoulish.

Nature prevails at the Hakone Open Air Museum

Jun 11, 2014

Nature prevails at the Hakone Open Air Museum

The Hakone Open Air Museum, located on the slopes of Mount Hakone in Fuji Hakone Izu National Park, is built in a beautiful natural setting of over 70,000 sq. meters. It is perfect for a day trip from the city or an extended weekend ...