Japanese Version

Lacquerware Marvel

  Lacquer expert Simon Pilling describes Psyche 2013, a work by gifted young Japanese lacquer artist Gakuto SASAKI that invites the viewer to suspend preconceptions.  At first sight the appearance is familiar – a high-grade, tooled leather box, with double zip fastening.  Touch it, however, and it is immediately apparent that the eye has been deceived. There is no leather, tooling, canvas ribbon or metal zips. All is recreated in...

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Amy Katoh Celebrating Found Japan

When I first arrived here in Japan in 1971, many traditional skills and crafts had already been lost. It seemed that most Japanese simply did not appreciate the genius of their own culture. Over time, however, I have been watching a gradual turnaround in awareness. One person who not only has been watching Japan longer than me, but has actually been participating in the turnaround is Amy Katoh, a cultural explorer in Tokyo since her...

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Stencil Master Hiromitsu Takahashi

By Hillary Tolman Steve here: I have asked Hillary Tolman to tell us about print-maker Hiromitsu Takahashi. Hilary’s renowned gallery, The Tolman Collection, has been run by her family in Tokyo for 35 years. Hillary Tolman: Our family has always referred to Hiromitsu as “The Last of the Kappazuri Masters.” Kappa-zuri is the traditional Japanese art of stencil, for use in both textile design and print-making. Unless Hiromitsu finds a...

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Joy to the world from Japan by Amy Katoh

Steve here: I have invited Amy Katoh, author and proprietor of Tokyo's beloved Blue and White shop, to share with us today. The spiraling steps of the atrium help the audience view the hats from all angles. Four thousand white flying saucers are taking off in the soaring space of the great atrium of the iconic Spiral Building, designed by Fumihiko Maki, on Tokyo’s ritzy Aoyama Dori. They move with the air currents and some are...

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Shin Enomoto's Stuffed Animal Fellows

The work of fiber artist, Shin Enomoto, was recently featured in a solo show at Kyoto’s Gallery Gallery, considered to be “fiber art central” in Japan. Unlike the work of contemporary artist and international phenomenon Takashi Murakami, whose characters were born from pop culture and mass media, Enomoto’s animals are a more innocent and personal expression. Enomoto says, “These stuffed animal fellows...

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Keeping Koi by Tom Burton

Keeping koi as it is called, takes the application of both art and science to do successfully and, like most things worth doing properly, is more difficult and involved than is immediately obvious. Like cats, dogs and horses, the most interesting and beautiful fish do not happen by accident; the parents are chosen through a painstaking process and aided in breeding. But unlike warm blooded animals, the offspring are individually (yes...

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