How folk craft found its place in the art world

Art Jul 9, 2019

How folk craft found its place in the art world

by Yoko Haruhara

"Japanese Tableware" highlights the passion with which Soetsu Yanagi — one of the founding fathers of the Japanese folk crafts movement — appreciated artisanal works into his own life, displaying the actual tableware that his family used when they gathered for meals.

Modern lacquer recalls past splendor

Art Sep 12, 2017

Modern lacquer recalls past splendor

by Matthew Larking

Celebrated domestically and internationally for tea ceremony caddies in lacquer and mother-of-pearl inlay, as well as rather more substantial fittings such as kimono display hangers, artisan Tatsuaki Kuroda (1904-82) has finally been honored with the first Kyoto retrospective exhibition of his work. The exhibition focuses ...

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 ...

Keeping up with the Joneses, Edo style

Art May 9, 2017

Keeping up with the Joneses, Edo style

by Yoko Haruhara

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 ...

The Power of the Weave

Books / Reviews Nov 29, 2014

The Power of the Weave

by Madeline Barbush

The Power of the Weave, by Tanaka Yuko, Translated by Geraldine Harcourt.International House of Japan, Nonfiction. Most of us give little thought about the materials in, or construction of, our daily ensembles, let alone the possibility of them holding historical ...

How Japan crafted its modernization

Art Jun 4, 2014

How Japan crafted its modernization

by C.B. Liddell

When Japan ended its isolation in the mid-to-late-19th-century, it had lots of disadvantages compared to the other major powers. But one distinct advantage that its isolation had preserved was its craft industries and the skills of its craftsmen.

Everyday goods: the Japanese art of convenience

Art Jun 27, 2013

Everyday goods: the Japanese art of convenience

by C.B. Liddell

"Mingei" translates as "folk art" and is connected to objects that are made or used by ordinary people on an everyday basis. Usually this evokes hand-crafted objects, such as ceramics, baskets, items of woodwork, etc. As such, the term is evocative of the era ...