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”→
Japan is known for having some of the most unique art in the world. Building on centuries of feudal culture, Japanese art has its own style. A famous example of Japanese art is jizai okimono, which translates to ‘move freely decorative object.’ Jizai okimono involves the crafting of articulated sculptures. Beginning in 17th century Japan, the art form is highly specialised and fascinating.
Feeling a connection to a certain place can be magical. It helps to broaden our horizons and see things from another perspective. Many people forge a connection with Japan. But that doesn’t mean you have to visit a country to feel an emotional response. Lily Greenwood hasn’t travelled to Japan, but the culture has massively influenced her work as an artist.
Samurai have earned a reputation for being honourable and stoic warriors. They have come to represent the spirit of Japan. Portrayed across countless mediums, the image of the samurai has fascinated scholars, writers and fans of popular culture.
When it comes to decorative statues, good craftsmanship is essential, which is why I enjoy collecting them. A type of figure I’ve appreciated for some time isjizai okimono, a Japanese design that was started in the 17th century by makers of samurai armour. The words roughly translate as ‘move freely decorative object,’ and the way to describe jizai okimono is a type of highly-detailed articulated statue that has moving parts. The most common designs are animals, which is why I was excited to purchase a jizai okimono dragon created by Kaiyodo. Continue reading “Kaiyodo Dragon Jizai Okimono Full Colour Review”→