At one time, nearly all of the 270 households in the village of Shawo would have been engaged in woodcraft, but today just six elderly men know the old techniques. Luckily, a younger generation is taking steps to ensure that the craft does not die out.
Japanese ukiyo-e painters from the Edo period (1603-1868) are now famous throughout the world for their exquisite woodblock prints depicting everyday Japanese life and the natural world. Such master painters are less well-known, however, for their humorous contributions to the art world, which often feature whimsical scenes of anthropomorphic animals. Fortunately for us, though, these types of pictures are experiencing a recent wave of popularity among Japanese Internet users, and these images are simply too cute for us to just pass up. We’ve got fish, cats, puppies, monkeys, and a few more surprises from the masters in store for you after the jump!
Have you ever visited a museum in Japan and found it hard to tear yourself away from the samurai exhibits, wanting desperately to reach past the “don’t touch” sign to prod the delicate folds of metal armour and the faded material with stains from a bloody war?
Well now there’s a range of samurai armour you can take home with you, and despite their petite size, they’re actually faithful recreations of suits worn by famous warriors in Japanese history.
Certified by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as a “Wonder 500” product, awarded to 500 of Japan’s finest goods, foods and travel experiences, this unique range of warrior suits can either dress up your figurines or safeguard your favourite bottle of sake, wine or shochu.
How well do you know your wagashi (Japanese sweets)? If you’re struggling to put a name to any of the traditional delectables pictured above, there’s a store in Kyoto that can help.
By creating decorative embroidered versions of some of Japan’s most popular confections, Kyoto-based Kyototo is giving us an education in the names and background of the hand-crafted treats that are often seasonal but always delicious. Come with us as we take a look at twelve of the most beautiful wagashi you can find in Japan.
Although the world is becoming more and more technologically advanced every day, many people in Japan are holding fast to the traditions of the past. While robots and machines can do a lot for us, they will never take the place of the men and women who carry on many of Japan’s traditional crafts, such as woodwork and sword-making.
Last weekend, YouTuber Sharla in Japan paid a visit to the Arakawa traditional handicraft festival in Tokyo and made a short video briefly showcasing a variety of these traditional goods.
Japan is known throughout the world for finding harmonious ways of combining traditional design and aesthetics with modern ideas and technology. You can see it everywhere: in Japanese architecture, eating utensils, even smartphone/tablet cases and pop music.
So it should come as no surprise then that there’s Japanese electric guitars that have been hand-crafted out of wood following traditional carving techniques. Oh, and did we mention that you can order them online?
Nail art is something that’s increasingly popular among Japan’s ladies due to the fact that it’s an easy way to express your individual style. As well as DIY-ing it at home with 100 yen store nail polishes and nail stickers, you can also get reasonably affordable yet super-durable gel manicures in a salon which are set by UV light and last for at least a month. Nail art trends tend to come and go depending on the season and whatever’s in style, but occasionally there’s a “boom” for a certain kind of design, with more and more people jumping on the bandwagon. First came anime nail art, and now it’s the turn of traditional Japanese performance art, Kabuki!
No matter how the times change, kids still love toys. Whether it was ancient Egypt or the mid-Edo period, toys have always been a big part of the way children passed their time in play. Even with all our fancy technology today, from 3DSs to Oculus Rifts, kids still make time to run around with their favorite dolls or plastic guns. Of course, Japan is full of figures of all varieties and price tags, but gachapon occupy a position of near invincibility–you can put pretty much anything in those little plastic balls and they’re practically guaranteed to sell.
And, starting soon, you’ll also be able to buy remakes of traditional Japanese toys from the early 18th century. You’ll finally get the opportunity to play like a kid from the Edo Period while waiting for your 3DS to recharge!
Here at RocketNews24 there’s nothing we like more on a man (or indeed a woman) than a dashing fundoshi. While we believe the traditional Japanese underwear that’s part-apron, part-loincloth is suitable for any occasion, we’re prepared to accept that they’re mainly seen at matsuri (festivals) these days.
So when we found this wondrous video of a group of men doing a special festival bird-catching dance in fundoshi, we knew we were in for a treat. Join us after the jump for some very genki dancing men having a lot of body-slappin’ good fun!
The art of temari making originated in China and came to Japan in the 7th century. They were originally made from scraps of old kimono and were meant only as toy handballs, but eventually evolved into embroidered pieces of art. The beautiful hand-sewn patterns on the ones made by Japanese designer NanaAkua’s grandmother, who learned to make temari in her sixties, could never be called mere play things. Let’s take a look at what this 92-year-old granny can do!
Some of us like experimenting with hair colors and styling methods, while others prefer finding a look that suits them best and sticking with that signature style throughout. Whichever category you fall into, the traditional Dahuojia (fire-heated clamps) hairdressing method might be something you would want to put on your bucket list. The ancient hair styling technique involving red-hot metal clamps is a dying trade though, so don’t wait too long to get to it!
The worldwide hit single, “Telephone”, by Lady Gaga featuring Beyonce, is doing the rounds again on the Internet. Only this time, it’s a Japanese version, featuring two traditional instruments: the koto (Japanese harp) and the shakuhachi (Japanese flute). The duo behind the cool cover are a couple of little monsters who go by the name of Team Kozan. Not only have they created an awesome rendition of the pop single, they’ve made a cool video clip too; filmed at Suga Shrine in Shinjuku, it mixes up Gaga dance moves with the sights and sounds of traditional Japan. See why the world is raving about it after the jump.