Compelling textures, mysterious forms and incredible skill: These are the vivid impressions of a visit to the exhibition "50 Masters of Contemporary Japanese Crafts," at Mitsukoshi's Nihonbashi store. Here are a hundred works in ceramics, textiles, lacquer, metal, wood, bamboo and the newer field of glass, all by established and rising stars, old enough to have mastered their skills, young enough to represent the here and now. This exhibition was originally organized for Mitsukoshi's Etoile gallery in Paris, where it attracted considerable attention. Two senior museum curators selected the artists, many of whom created items especially for the exhibition. From the gossamer fabric of Naomi Nakashima to the solid warmth of Akira Murayama's superb woodcarving, here are works that appeal to the senses, as well as the imagination.

Japanese crafts are justly renowned, but they have been in crisis for at least a century. In the midst of the Industrial Revolution, the poet Wordsworth warned that "getting and spending, we lay waste our powers." As we rush to the next big thing, can we still appreciate items made with hand, heart and mind?

Lacquerware is a good example. Many of us marvel at the antique writing boxes, sword stands and so on in museums, but this historical view may blind us to the fine work still being created. For modern lacquer artists, Japan's rich tradition presents a different problem. "One of the most difficult things is to move on from the wonderful things of each era, and find a new way," said exhibitor Kazumi Murose, at his recent one-man show. This ran for the first week of the "50 Masters" exhibition, and was an impressive display of about 40 items that had taken 10 years to create.