Japanese Crafts – Hakone-Yosegi-Zaiku Marquetry

In any country a lot of crafts will develop depending on the natural resources which are available, if a village in Fukuoka has a lot of good clay then people will find a way to create beautiful pottery, if an onsen village in the north of Japan has wood and lots of visiting families, then […]

Japanese Crafts – Kaga Yuzen from Ishikawa

The little town of Kaga in Ishikawa prefecture used to be an old temple town which today is famous for not only its temples but also its onsen. In the Edo period (1603-1868) a local printer and dyer, Yuzensai Miyazaki, worked on creating beautiful silk cloth with patterns and managed to perfect what became known […]

Japanese Crafts – Yamaga-toro Lanterns

Yamaga-toro are lanterns manufactured in Yamaga City in Kumamoto Prefecture. They are made using only Japanese paper and glue to create a three-dimensional object. The manufacturing technique has been passed down from the end of the Muromachi period, which is applied not only to conventional votive offerings but also to decorative figures, gifts or souvenirs, […]

Japanese Crafts – Nambu Ironware

In the area around Morioka in Iwate Prefecture people used to have a different name for this location, it  was known as Nambu in the Edo period (1603-1868). In Nambu traditional ironware was produced in two areas, today they are known as Morioka City and in Mizusawa City in the south. It is believed that […]

Japanese Crafts – Hakata dolls

By Mike Sullivan Dolls have always been a favourite creation of Japanese craftspeople, whether it is the relatively simple Kokeshi dolls from the Onsen towns of north Japan, Gosho dolls from Kyoto in central Japan or Hakata dolls from Fukuoka in the south of the country. Each kind of doll has its own particular beauty […]

Japanese Crafts – Edo Sashimono, Tokyo

  A famous aspect that you can find in Buddhist temples, and furniture related to Buddhism, is the almost magical ability to make something with no nails. For example, Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺) in Kyoto is a temple that was constructed in 1633 and still stands today, without a single nail used in its construction. Just as […]

Traditional Crafts Exhibition WAZA 2015: Take Home the Heart of Japan

Taken from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s website (経済産業省). Traditional Crafts Exhibition WAZA 2015 to be Held–Take Home the Heart of Japan– From February 19 to 24, 2015, the Association for the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries (DENSAN) will hold the Traditional Crafts Exhibition WAZA 2015, focusing on the theme, “Take Home the […]

Traditional Japanese Crafts will be Showcased to Gain Publicity at the World’s Largest International Trade Fair – Germany

Taken from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s website (経済産業省). http://www.meti.go.jp/english/press/2015/0126_01.html From February 13 to 17, 2015, Ambiente 2015, the world’s largest international trade fair for consumer goods, will be held in Frankfurt, Germany. Taking this opportunity, traditional Japanese crafts from across Japan will be exhibited as government-designated traditional crafts. Through this event, Japan […]

Okiagari Koboshi-ten – Supporting Fukushima Prefecture

Text and photos by Mike Sullivan A beautiful stall at Hyper Japan London in July featured many Okiagari-koboshi or Okiagari-kobōshi (起き上がり小法師 getting-up little priest). These are traditional Japanese dolls, they are made from papier mâché and are designed in a way that makes its own weight keep it upright even if it is pushed back, […]

Interview with Naoko Mori – Jewellery Artisan and Member of Japan Jewellery Designers Association

By Mike Sullivan. Please introduce yourself and your background. My name is Naoko Mori, I studied at Tokoha University in the Education Department and I Majored in Art. Since 1998 I have had my own business, Studio NAO2, and in 2006 I became a member of the Japan Jewellery Designers Association. In 2011 I became […]

Interview with Hiroshi Yufu – Bamboo Artisan with an Amazing Heritage

Translation by Saneyuki Owada. Please introduce yourself and your background. My name is Hiroshi Yufu, a Bamboo artist from Beppu, Oita-prefecture that is famous for hot spring and traditional bamboo craft works, and I am the son of the present head of Yufu Chikuryu-sha (油布竹龍舎) Shohaku Yufu. Originally, my family was making bamboo works since […]

Interview with Masanori Gataguchi – Handcrafted Watch Artisan

Interview and translation by Mike Sullivan. Please introduce yourself and your background. My name is Masanori Gataguchi and my company is called “GaTa” watch smith. Please tell us about your work. I make handcrafted watches. I use the technology of engraving, in particular for watch cases, but actually as much as possible I try to […]

Interview with Mayu Ueno – Textile Artisan in Fukuoka

By Mike Sullivan (translation by Saneyuki Owada and Mike Sullivan) Please note that an obi is the sash which is wrapped around the waist when wearing a kimono. Hakata Ori is a weaving technique with a history spanning over 700 years in Japan. Please introduce yourself and your background. I make Hakata Ori (Hakata folk […]