Japan stories

The Fidan doll: A bridge between Turkey and Japan - Songül ARAL finds a village woman who made a traditional doll after her children left home. But how did it find its way east to Japan and start an export business?
Water, Wood and Wild Things: Learning Craft and Cultivation in a Japanese Mountain Town – review - D Wood reviews a book about Yamanaka, a village in a "nether region" of Japan where beautiful traditions linger.
Kôgei between Japan and Brazil: The ceramics of Shoko Suzuki - Liliana Morais follows a Japanese ceramicist who built a kiln in order to make a life between Japan and Brazil.
Ikebana: A flower arrangement in search of poetry - For Shoso Shimbo, the meaning of Ikebana goes beyond art and design.
Eastern glazes: The provenance of celadon, tenmoku and shino - Sandra Bowkett starts to question her right to use Japanese terms.
Alchemy in Japanese traditional craft: The transformation of light in Tamahagane forging and polishing - The eleventh talk in our Reinventing the Wheel series is in Kyoto, where Sachiko Tamashige introduces the traditional practice of sword and mirror polishing.
Netsuke today - The traditional Japanese wood carving craft of netsuke continues to evolve.
Senryu: Three little words make many objects - Sayumi Yokouchi, Mari Ishikawa and Mikiko Minewaki are inspired by the short Japanese poetry of Senryu to make beautiful jewellery.
Toshizō Hirose ✿ The sentō stamp today - What's the life of a stamp maker in Japan today? We ask Toshizō Hirose, who was commissioned to make a sentō stamp for an exhibition about Japanese bathhouses in Sydney.
Futaba ✿ Living with a broken beauty - Wakana Yanagida profiles the Japanese vlogger who celebrates the pleasure of living with handmade objects.
The Kawashima Textile School ✿ Ancient kasuri is alive in Japan - Helen Ting talks to Emma Omote about her role in keeping the ancient craft of kasuri weaving alive and asks: how resilient is this specialist craft skill in the age of machinery and mass production?
Finding Taketa: Serendipitous discovery and reflection in practice research - On a humid Sunday, Jo McCallum begins a journey to understand the particular mystery that is bamboo in Japan.
Kimono o’clock: The watchstrap artist - A striking example of "living craft" is Tong's incorporation of heritage Japanese textile into something you wear every day on your wrist.
Masahiro Sasaki ✿ Glass comes first - The glass artist Masahiro Sasaki follows the Japanese way of craft, or kogei, where materials comes before concept. 
Following the Lacquer God - Dave van Gompel writes about the extraordinary commitment required to master lacquer, and why it has a new-found relevance today.
Seikatsu Kogei: The Japanese carpe diem of the arts - Madeleine Thomas finds the embodiment of simple beauty known as Seikatsu Kogei in the presence of woodworker Ryuji Mitani from Matsumoto, Japan.
Seikatsu Kogei: Standard-issue craft - Related to our 生きている工芸 Ikiteiru kōgei (Living craft) issue, this exhibition at the Japan Foundation emphasises the beauty of ordinary handmade objects.
Mino-momoyama ware - Gallery VOICE introduces some of the unique Japanese ceramic ware that is the fruit of the legendary Momoyama kiln in Toki City Gifu prefecture.
Japan black: Setoguro ware ceramics - Tomoko Kawakami writes about the exhibition, Kirin-ji: The challenge of making ceremonial tea bowls
Yuri KEZUKA ✿ Our world in a clay mirror - Kurt Brereton finds a Japanese ceramic artist whose work defies hyper-consumerism.
Harry T. Morris ✿ The spirit of fuzei in furniture - Artist in Residence at The Bower Reuse and Repair Centre, Harry T. Morris, is inspired by the Japanese concept of fuzei to use discarded materials in producing furniture of lasting value. We learn the experiences in Japan that inspired this appreciation of fuzei.
Kyoko Hashimoto ✿ the Musubi necklace - Kyoko Hashimoto's Musubi necklace is a striking example of how a Japanese craft technique can help us appreciate the local quality of another country, in this case the sandstone that defines the Sydney basin.
Saori weaving: Striving for irregularity - Kaz Madigan shares her unique relationship to the Japanese Saori weaving workshop, which values the human touch as part of Zen Buddhism
Ceramics for the Autumn Takayama Festival (Hachiman Matsuri) - For the upcoming Autumn Takayama Festival, Gallery VOICE is presenting work by six ceramic artists and the golden lacquer art called Shunkei.
Mikio Toki ✿ Edo kites keep hope afloat - Our pursuit of beautiful and thoughtful objects can take us far beyond the gallery. From kite-maker Mikio Toki, we learn that art taken to the skies can be a powerful way of giving thanks.
Rough translation: The language of materials in three exhibitions - Brian Parkes reflects on the material translations that occur across three exhibitions at CraftACT.
Becoming blind to climate change: An age-old Japanese solution - This is a time when we might look to traditional crafts which offered offline means of staying cool, such as the paper fan and these Japanese screens.
The shape of YOI よい: A drunken evening of Japanese ceramics - An exhibition of Japanese ceramics based on the concept of YOI, which can mean good, evening and drunkenness.
Sairi Yoshizawa ✿ The colours of eucalyptus - Sairi Yoshizawa's recent award-winning work applies a particularly Japanese approach to Australian nature, revealing the rustic beauty of eucalypt dyes.
Why a Japanese lacquer master sought a surfing legend - Lacquer is a gift of the ancients that is largely forgotten today. Sachiko Matsuyama is convinced of its value not just for its redolent surface but also as a bond between people and nature. She finds an inspiring future for lacquer in the work of Takuya Tsutsumi, in partnership with an Australian surfboard maker.
Garland in Vietnam - Join us as we explore the One Village One Product movement in Vietnam.
Manami Aoki ✿ Kushi-ireru-ki (hair of wood) - Our laurel for March 2019 goes to emerging Tokyo jeweller Manami Aoki for her work "Hair of wood".
An orchid in the desert – the lacquer journey of Bic Tieu - Kevin Murray explores how Bic Tieu uses the medium of lacquer to tell a unique Australian story,
Arigato Japan - We offer some brief glimpses of the launches of our 生きている工芸 Ikiteiru kōgei (Living craft) issue across Japan.
Kougie now – Craft experience at Hotel Kanra Kyoto - Shingo Yamasaki, director of KOUGEI NOW, in conversation with Daisuke Tomooka, general manager of Hotel Kanra Kyoto, discusses their focus on the "craft experience".
余韻 (yo-in) / afterglow – Japanese ceramics in Melbourne - Compared to the KonMari "spark", the ceramic artist Yoko Ozawa has offers us more enduring and subtle light, the 余韻 (yo-in) afterglow, in which to view the resonant works she has gathered from Japan
Toru Kuwakawa ✿ String theory - Curator Tomohiro Daicho writes about the artist's quest to give expression to "savage math" of clay. 
Kuniji Tsubaki ✿ Hinraku, c’est bon! - If you want to get real about de-cluttering, embrace the spirit of hinraku, as in the portable tea room by architect Tsubaki Kuniji.
The limits of KonMari ✿ Fewer, better, older things - The famous decluttering method of Marie Kondo lacks some key Japanese values.
Sydney to Shigaraki and back again ✿ Merran Esson - Merran Esson, Malcolm Greenwood and Simon Reece enjoy wood-firing in the ceramic village of Shigaraki, with old and new generations.
ヨークに渡った新潟のわらアート:日本に学ぶ干し草彫刻 - わらアート作家、守屋陽氏から私のもとに1通のメールには、日本で初めて出版されるというわらアートの本の英名が書かれていた。そのタイトルは「わらで地域を再生する」。その出版物やプロジェクトに似つかわしくないタイトルに私の口から笑みがこぼれた。わらアートは西オーストラリア州に何をもたらすのだろうか。そして、それは日本の地方で起きていることと、何か関係があるのだろうか。
アイヌの手仕事:愛と祈りの布作り - アイヌの布が持つ不変の特質の最たるものは、作り手の愛情を留めおき、そこに込められた祈りによってアイヌとアイヌとをつなぐところだ。長谷川の言葉にもあるように、この祈りが布に命を吹き込み、それが力となって使い手や持ち主に働くのだ
工芸存続のニューモデル:経験経済の事例を考える - 筆者は30年以上にわたってメルボルンのクィーンヴィクトリア・マーケットに通い続けている。生鮮食品と工芸品が呼び物のこのマーケットは、近年、外国人観光客の増加が目立つようになった。そこである店主に「商売人にはありがたい話ですね」と言うと「とんでもない。売り上げは下がるいっぽうだよ。皆写真を撮りたいだけで、何も買っていきやしない」という返事が返ってきた。
走泥社のオブジェ焼き:京都からオーストラリアへ - 同ギャラリーでは、2019年に「走泥社:オーストラリアとのつながり」展の開催を予定している。この展覧会では、走泥社が戦後日本の陶芸界の発展におよぼした影響を再考、再評価し、さらには彼らの仕事と、日本とオーストラリアの現代作家への影響を考察する。
淡路・阿波人形浄瑠璃の衣裳が生きていた景色 - 日本には、人形浄瑠璃という芸能があります。『浄瑠璃』というのは、物語を義太夫節で語り、三味線の伴奏が入る話芸です。これに合わせて人形を巧みに操って演技させることから、この名前がつけられています。およそ、500年もの歴史があります。2008年、ユネスコの無形文化遺産に、同じ流れをくむ文楽とともに、能楽・歌舞伎と並んで指定され、世界に名だたる日本の伝統芸能となりました
Tracing fragments ✿ Mosaic Tile Museum - We continue our series on the Mosaic Tile Museum with a preview of a bold project to match their epic tile collection to new designs.
The glittering costumes of Ningyo-Joruri: A puppetry revival project 🇯🇵 - Miki Hanafusa explores the costumes that would catch the eye of villagers in Japan's traditional outdoor puppet theatres.
Why you should drink saké hot - Masahiro and Yumi Takahashi present their projects Sakenet and Dear Plastic that export a hightenned Japanese sensibility to the other side of the world.
Quarterly Essay ✿ Of time and the city - In a lyrical tribute to mindful living, Kathryn Bird and Ross Gibson find in Kyoto a beauty borne of skill and care.
The art of repair: Keiko Ikoma’s subtle kintsugi - Ryan Leahey presents the work of Keiko Ikoma, whose delicate repair attempts to honour the spirit of the broken object.
Kōgei Hackathon: Toyama transforms craft - Sari Hayashiguchi introduces the results of a creative storm that re-configured traditional crafts in Takaoka City.
New models for craft sustainability: Engaging with the “experience” economy 🇯🇵 - Kevin Murray presents models from Japan today that show how craft is adapting to the experience economy.
Eucalypt meets indigo in Kanazawa – with gold leaf - Photographer Siri Hayes travelled to Kanazawa to combine Australia eucalypt-dyed threads with those in Japanese indigo.
From Brazil to Japan: In search of the unknown craftsperson - Silvia Sasaoka recounts her journey in the footsteps of Soetsu Yanagi to find the spirit of Mingei (folk craft) in Japan today
Shibari on the Strathbogie Ranges: The art of Japanese rock knotting - Anne Newton recounts how the Japanese technique of knotting rocks helped her express her appreciation of the Victorian highlands.
From Kyoto to Brunswick: The Mr Kitly story - Bree Claffey accounts for the emergence of Mr Kitly and how time spent in Kyoto forged her distinct taste in pottery and plants.
Wara art from Niigata to York: Japan-inspired hay sculptures 🇯🇵 - Jenny Garroun and Ilsa Bennion tells the story of a West Australian wheatbelt town that was revitalised through the Japanese craft of making rice stalk sculptures
Folding Indigo: Keiko Amenomori-Schmeisser - Caren Florance writes about the shibori artist Keiko Amenomori-Schmeisser whose work expresses the richness of indigo.
Full of emptiness: The wonder of Hagi ware - This article imparts the virtues of a living Japanese craft and introduces readers to the profound wisdom that comes from the quotidian practice of drinking tea.
Ceramic art from Gallery VOICE - Tomoko Kawakami presents six ceramic artists from an exhibition in Tajima