Watch how traditional Japanese craftsmanship is done in a series of videos from Gucci Japan

If I was to be reincarnated I would want to come back as a Japanese craftsman [second choice: bird, third: dolphin, fourth:horse,…]. These videos speak to my heart like no other. I love to watch craftspeople at work but the Japanese do it like no other nation. I can’t tell you how much my heart aches when I see such beauty so skilfully created.

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One of the things about Japan that I’m always most curious about is the various traditional buildings and items that can be found, like the mikoshi. These are portable shrines of various sizes that get carried around during festive times. They’re incredibly intricate in their decorations and must require regular maintenance. This always leads me to wondering who makes these things and what is their business model? You don’t see any billboards for mikoshi manufacturers and yet the workshops and craftsmen are out there, somewhere doing their thing.

For another example, take this little mosaic box pictured above. You may have seen a similar one before, but do you know how it’s made? You might be surprised at where the pattern actually comes from and thanks to a series of videos put out on YouTube, we can get a glimpse at how traditional handmade Japanese goods are painstakingly created.

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Posted on July 12, 2014, in Japanese and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I watched a TED talk recently by Bill Strickland (Rebuilding a neighborhood with beauty,dignity, and hope). He built a vocational school in a crime ridden neighborhood. He emphasized that he hired a Japanese craftsman to build 60 unique pieces of furniture for the school. Now I understand why. The craftsmanship is too beautiful for words. Thank you for sharing. 😀

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    • You’re welcome. 🙂
      In Japan, crafting is so much more than just a job. Craftsmen train for decades until the tools become like part of their bodies. They work patiently to produce a balance between functionality and beauty. I’m not saying that other countries can’t produce beautiful handcrafted items, I just mean that there is something special about Japanese craft, something that is an innate part of Japanese culture.

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  2. Yes, I agree. Tonight we are watching a Japanese building being built. The natural elements are so understood and respected.

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    • I watch NHK World TV quite a lot and it’s wonderful to see the relationship that the Japanese have with the natural world, trees in particular. Obviously, like any developed nation, there are a lot of environmental issues, but the traditional attitude is, as you say, one of respect.
      Have you ever seen the shinto ceremonies that take place when a big tree is felled?

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  3. Sara…Melanie has started the Artists 4 Peace blog…all the information is on my blog, check it out and let us know what you think. Thank you.

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  4. That youtube is very informative just watching it. I hope the tradition is being passed on to the younger generation.

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