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  • July.04

    At the Met, an Enrapturing Exhibition on the Kimono Examines Its “Unifying Power” by Vogue


    “Kimono Style: The John C. Weber Collection,” opening today in the Metropolitan Museum’s Japanese Wing, is an immersive, must-see exhibition that considers the evolution of this foundational garment within Japan and its relation to the West. There are many ways to explain the cross-cultural appeal of the kimono. One of the most persuasive is the…


    COMME des GARÇONS, Deconstructed Fashion by Rei Kawakubo – by Pen


    Generally associated with the image of the little red heart with black eyes, the brand COMME des GARÇONS, shortened to CDG, did not stop at this single success. It was founded in 1969 by the enigmatic Rei Kawakubo, who at the time was dissatisfied with the clothing available in stores. Its name inspired by the yé-yé pop…


    Japan Craft 21 Newsletter – May 2022


    Revitalizing crafts for the 21st Century NEWSLETTER, Spring 2022 Journalist Richard Varner interviews Steve Beimel for an update on JapanCraft21 activities. Varner: Well, Beimel-san, before you update us on what’s been happening since the successful conclusion of last year’s JapanCraft21 contest, could you clarify what you mean by the word “crafts?” It’s a broad term…


    ‘The Mingei Spirit in Japan’, the Revival of Traditional Folk Art by Pen


      In his book published in 2008, L’Esprit Mingei au Japon (‘The Mingei Spirit in Japan’), general curator of heritage Germain Viatte reveals the secrets of the success of this new artistic movement, between tradition and modernity. Facing a country that only considered aristocratic art and the uniformity of globalisation, Japanese philosopher Soetsu Yanagi (1889-1961) decided to…


    Evaluating Japanese tea bowls – KAKO Katsumi


    A potter with only one year of full time training could produce mass produced tea bowls using a mold, using an energy efficient electric kiln ensuring minimal damage to works during firing, resulting in a pleasant yet unremarkable bowl which retails for about $50.  KAKO Katsumi, who made the featured piece here, has about 30…


    DAIGAKU IMO: The Sweet Potato with a College Education

    Oct.30 Elizabeth Andoh

    While growing up in New York, I took lessons at The Art Student’s League on Saturday mornings. After class I would meet my father for a late lunch. His office was a few doors down from the Plaza Hotel (where Eloise had taken up residence in 1955) in the building next to Prexy’s. The burger…


    Global Refresh


    by Steve Beimel A simple truth: trees suck up carbon and cool down the area in which they are planted. They are also beautiful, assist in ground water replenishment, provide habitat for many forms of life and act as wind breaks. I was tired of years of helplessly watching the world get hotter and ignoring…


    Tokolo Asao: A New Spin for Arita

    Sept.12 Alice Gordenker

    Millions of people around the world have seen the work of Tokolo Asao, yet few would be able to produce his name or identify a single project to which he’s contributed. Tokolo — and that’s the spelling he prefers for a surname usually romanized as “Tokoro” — is the man behind the distinctive indigo checkered…


    Event notice: outdoor Noh in Kanagawa, Oct. 2-3, 2019

    Sept.04 Alice Gordenker

    Readers of Japan Living Arts are invited to attend special performances of Noh and Kyogen at the Oyama Afuri Shrine on Mt. Oyama in Kanagawa Prefecture.  On Oct. 2 and 3, 2019, top actors from the Kanze School of Noh — including Living National Treasures — will share their art outdoors, as Noh was originally…


    Film Crew to Scale Sacred Mountain with Japan’s Tattooed Pilgrims

    June.26 Alice Gordenker

    Japan’s relationship with tattoos is notoriously complicated. Even at the height of their popularity during the Edo period, the samurai class made attempts to ban these creative decorations that depicted designs that were considered subversive. Because of their popularity, the bans were ineffective and so the culture of horimono — literally “engraving” — remained strong for…