From Tsumago to Magome


This is one of the biggest and oldest craft fairs in Japan, attracting around 50,000 visitors every year.

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Matsumoto Crafts Fair 2016

Matsumoto Crafts Fair 2016

This is one of the biggest and oldest craft fairs in Japan, attracting around 50,000 visitors every year.

Shinichiro Kanouya

»A tableware is a kimono for cookery«

Kyoto born artist Shinichiro Kanouya creates pottery of simple shapes and rusty colors. His ash glaze over slip-decorated style is one of our favorites at Matsumoto Crafts Fair 2016, where we met the artist for our Craft Talk No. 5.

Our favourite books on Japanese crafts

Books are a great ressource to learn more about Japanese crafts. Here are our favourites.


What makes Japanese crafts special?

Craft (工芸 kōgei?, lit. engineered art) in Japan has a long tradition and history. Included are handicraft by an individual or a group, and A craft is work produced by independent studio artists, working with traditional craft materials and/or processes. According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, the crafts (工芸技術 Kōgei Gijutsu?) are divided into eight categories: pottery (陶芸 tōgei?), textiles, lacquerware, metalworking, dollmaking, woodworking, papermaking, and other. The categories are subdivided into a number of more specific subcategories. The Japan Kōgei Association concurs with these definitions. The many variations are officially recognized and protected by the government. Those working in crafts are eligible for recognition either individually (Individual Certification) or as part of a group (Preservation Group Certification) into the list of Living National Treasures of Japan (crafts). Some crafts enjoy status as meibutsu, or regional specialties.

Each craft demands a set of specialized skills. Japanese craft works serve a functional or utilitarian purpose, though they may be handled and exhibited similar to visual art objects. Each craft demands a set of specialized skills. Japanese craft works serve a functional or utilitarian purpose, though they may be handled and exhibited similar to visual art objects.Each craft demands a set of specialized skills. Japanese craft works serve a functional or utilitarian purpose, though they may be handled and exhibited similar to visual art objects.Each craft demands a set of specialized skills. Japanese craft works serve a functional or utilitarian purpose, though they may be handled and exhibited similar to visual art objects. Each craft demands a set of specialized skills. Japanese craft works serve a functional or utilitarian purpose, though they may be handled and exhibited similar to visual art objects.Each craft demands a set of specialized skills. Japanese craft works serve a functional or utilitarian purpose, though they may be handled and exhibited similar to visual art objects.