Japan’s raw silk now… On the verge of extinction

By the 1930’s Japan was the world’s largest producer of raw silk with over 30% market share. Two-thirds of the production was exported, mainly to the US. Production drastically decreased during World War II. After the war, the Japanese government tried to revitalize sericulture. However, with commercialization of nylon and other synthetic materials, Japan’s raw …

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Noriko Kiyota’s long love for Kimono

Noriko Kiyota is a publisher, editor, writer and photographer.   Above all she loves kimono. For almost 50 years, her magazine, Japanese Kimono +, has been educating Kimono enthusiasts and advising the kimono industry how to adapt their business to lifestyle changes in Japan. To insure that it never diverges from a consumer’s point of view, her …

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G7 Japan held on May 26 and 27 in Ise-Shima

Japan is hosting G7 Summit in Ise-Shima region on May 26 and 27. What does Ise-Shima region look like? Here is a video of Ise-Shima made by the Japanese government. I wonder, does this video tell you about Ise-Shima well?

Encounter the Art of Zen from Mind to Form, in Kyoto

This year marks the 1150th anniversary since the Rinzai (臨済) school of Zen was established. To celebrate this significant milestone, the Kyoto National Museum is currently holding a special exhibition called “The Art of Zen from Mind to Form.” What is Zen? How has Zen impacted Japan’s culture? How is Zen applicable to our everyday life? Now …

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Chinkin (沈金) — Urushi technique that uses a chisel

In chinkin technique, the urushi-lacquered surface is engraved with a chisel. And then after a new layer of urushi lacquer is rubbed into the grooves, gilding is done with gold and silver leaf or powders on the engraved pattern. The technique of chinkin came from China in the 14th century and became very popular in …

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Maki-e (蒔絵) — A thousand year-old technique of “sprinkled picture”

The general technique of maki-e sprinkles gold and silver metal powers to express design drawn with urushi lacquer. Originating in Japan about a thousand years ago, maki-e technique continues to decorate objects around the lives. This 20-minute video highlights the process of making a maki-e fountain pen. Actually it took more than 2 months to …

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