When it comes to Japanese art, ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world) are arguably the best representation. Often produced as woodblock prints, ukiyo-e have captured the imagination of people all over the world, providing a romanticised version of Japan that’s connected to ‘The Floating World’ of pleasure palaces, geisha, samurai and kabuki actors during the Edo period.
Frederick Harris’ Ukiyo-E: The Art Of The Japanese Print may well be the definitive version of Japanese woodblock prints. Filled with beautiful artwork and commentary on the greatest Japanese artists of all time, the book is a must-read for anyone who’s interested in art history and Japanese culture.
In Japan, there are many remote places worlds away from the bustling megacities of Tokyo and Kyoto. The town of Yamanaka in Ishikawa Prefecture is one such place and writer Hannah Kirshner reveals the intimate details of this mountainous town in Water, Wood & Wild Things: Learning Craft And Cultivation In A Japanese Mountain Town.
Lyrical, vivid and beautiful, Kirshner’s book is a window into a part of Japan that few have explored in literature and from the very first page, you’ll be transported to Yamanaka and feel right at home.
Japan has a fascinating and multifaceted culture. It is a culture that is steeped in traditions dating back thousands of years and at the same time in a constant state of rapid flux, with continually shifting fads, fashions, and technological developments. Yet, at times it seems that the more Japan evolves, the more it remains the same. Many of Japan’s traditional arts embody these characteristics as well and reflect the mutable society we have so often observed.
Beautiful craftsmanship goes hand in hand with Japanese culture. For centuries, artisans have created high-quality goods made from natural materials that tell the story of the area they come from. From products as simplistic as a bowl, to items that are detailed as a ceramic pot, Japanese craftsmanship infuses a level of sophistication that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
There are plenty of great gifts out there for people who appreciate the beauty of Japanese craftsmanship and here are ten ideas.
Tattoos have different meanings across different cultures, running the gamut from sacred art to the mark of criminals. In Japan, tattoos are part of a wider subculture called irezumi, a style of iconography with its own unique images and motifs.
The most detailed irezumi designs are found in bodysuits, which are often associated with the yakuza. One man was so fascinated by irezumi that it compelled him to start a museum and display irezumi ‘pelts’ for his scientific research. His name was Dr Fukushi Masaichi.
Tattoos means different things in different cultures, with specific stylistic choices taking on their own culture and tradition. Japanese tattoos, also known as irezumi, are among the most distinctive. But the word ‘irezumi’ means far more than ‘tattoo.’ Irezumi is a lifestyle choice intwined with the seasons and a representation of an art form that has been built up over centuries.
To truly understand the language of irezumi, it’s worth knowing the words that appear in the category. Yamato Magazine has created a helpful glossary to introduce you to the wonderful world of Japanese tattoos.
From writers to artists, Japan has a history of inspiring creatives to bring a new dimension to their work. When Spanish artist Amaia Arrazola took up an art residency in Tokyo, she was inspired to create an entire art portfolio after spending a month in Japan’s capital. The Tokyo Travel Sketchbook: Kawaii Culture, Wabi Sabi Design, Female Samurais and Other Obsessions is the fruit of Arrazola’s labour. Continue reading “The Tokyo Travel Sketchbook Review: Capturing The Contradictory Nature Of Japan”→