Japan’s 'kanban' are still hanging in there

Lifestyle Jun 18, 2017

Japan’s 'kanban' are still hanging in there

by Martin Laflamme

Little information remains about the personal life of the artisan Kojiro Shimizu. His personality and interests, his passions and motivations — all are shrouded in mystery. What we know is that he worked in Kyoto in the late 19th and early 20th century and ...

There's history in the making of these dolls

Art May 28, 2016

There's history in the making of these dolls

by Shinnosuke Masuko

An artist based in Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido is in demand for her remarkably lifelike clay figurines of famous historical figures. Mika Takayama, 47, who lives in Sapporo, calls the 15-centimeter-tall figurines made of oven-bake clay chima chima ningyō (tiny little dolls). Takayama principally ...

The dyeing art of Japan's traditional everyday kimono

Art Mar 1, 2016

The dyeing art of Japan's traditional everyday kimono

by Matthew Larking

Weaver and dyer Fukumi Shimura's (b.1924) inherited an interest in craft from her mother, Toyo Ono, who made inroads through the early 20th-century mingei (folk crafts) movement led by philosopher Muneyoshi Yanagi. Introduced to the lacquer artistan Tatsuaki Kuroda in 1956, Shimura began to ...

'Shimura Fukumi'

Art / Openings Outside Tokyo Feb 2, 2016

'Shimura Fukumi'

by Melynie Yoneda

Feb. 2-March 21 Living National Treasure Fukumi Shimura is a master of senshoku dyeing and weaving, who brings kimono to life with colorful designs using only natural dyes derived from plants. In 2014 she was awarded the 30th Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy and ...

Bringing Japanese folk dance into focus

Lifestyle Jan 30, 2016

Bringing Japanese folk dance into focus

by Midori Nishida

As with many cultures, before modernization the Japanese people relied heavily on agriculture, holding a spiritual affinity with and respecting the power of nature. Bountiful harvests were celebrated in festivities that played a significant role in community activities, and the distinctive folk rituals that ...

Dotonbori: Where Osakans eat, drink and be merry

Travel Jan 16, 2016

Dotonbori: Where Osakans eat, drink and be merry

by Stephen Mansfield

Comparing Osaka with almost any other Japanese city is akin to likening a bloodied steak to boiled chicken. Its people, a sassy, friendly breed, with a legendary, often ribald sense of humor, carry a swagger you don't see elsewhere. Unlike Tokyo, where the stranger is ...