Creative Kyoto

Honyarado: Losing Kyoto’s Counter-Culture Hub

Opening in 1972, Honyarado became a hub and stronghold of anti-war activities and a symbol of youth counterculture. We campaigned for the release of political prisoners in South Vietnam and South Korea, and supported court cases against obscenity charges.

Read More

Mio Heki: Kintsugi Artist and Urushi Master

Mio Heki kintsugi repairing ceramic cup in studio Kyoto Japan close-up

“I see urushi as a way to connect ourselves and our culture with nature in so many ways. Because urushi and kintsugi art is all natural, it is a good way to remind ourselves that we are all part of nature, being pieces of our universe.”

Read More

Chiemi Ogura: Bamboo Craftswoman

Chiemi Ogura bamboo craftswoman Kyoto photo by Irwin Wong

Chiemi weaves her intricate bamboo jewellery from her inner-west Kyoto home studio. Everything step is done by her and by hand, from cutting strips from raw, Kyoto-sourced stalks, to the final dying that washes the pieces in unique wine, turquoise, and emerald shades.

Read More

KYOTOGRAPHIE Breaks New Ground

Ono Tadashi Coastal Motifs

Kyotographie seems to be not merely bringing people to hidden or at least underutilized parts of Kyoto, but taking an active role in developing and revitalizing areas that are in dire need of a pick-me-up.

Read More

No Translation Needed: KYOTOGRAPHIE 2017

The theme of KYOTOGRAPHIE 2016 is “Love,” a sentiment that is seemingly-universal yet highly-fraught in ways that vary widely from culture to culture. The festival’s organizers do not try to reconcile the differences but rather lay out the debate in spatial and visual terms.

Read More

Vassal Beats Lord: Benkei and Yoshitsune in the Noh Play Ataka

Ataka reveals an aspect of unique Japanese spirituality. While it is a challenging performance for actors that requires subtle skills instructed orally by a master, the story structure involves a powerful psychodrama, and the roles and presentation evoke the audience’s emotions directly by the senses without depending completely on the words.

Read More

In the Realm of the Bicycle

I first noticed them, the fact of their everywhereness, during my daily commute to and from work, as they stood and leaned and laid and zipped around in all the conditions of life itself…

Read More

Nishio Haruo: Thatcher

North of Kyoto city lie the satellite communities that make up the country town or cho known as Miyama — famed for its thatched houses, and home to thatcher Nishio Haruo…

Read More

Kyoto’s Photo Family

With some 140 published books over four decades, Mizuno Katsuhiko has been influential in defining Kyoto’s natural beauty and stimulating Kyoto people’s pride in their city. As a child, Mizuno’s daughter Kayu accompanied him on many of his photo outings…

Read More

Nakagawa Shuji: Oke Maker

Nakagawa Shuji Oke Kyoto Journal Japan Handmade crafts bucket wood

“Grandfather at work was beautiful to watch.” Shuji remembers, “And the products he created were also splendid and of high-quality. The ideal of the Japanese woodcraft artisan is that at the final sweep of the plane, the separate elements become a single object. My grandfather was making oke that way.”

Read More

Nishikawa Senrei: Nihon Buyo

“You have to tear down the old completely sometimes to build the new in the spirit of the old. When I revive a piece, everything changes. Even if the performers are all the same, we’ve grown, so through repetition the piece will change.”

Read More

Nishijin Harmonies

“I’ve always been intrigued by mastery on every level — mastery of one’s skills to use as a focus to purify oneself and to live well, to live happily, and to feel that one is living in a congruent and meaningful form.”

Read More

Before you go, be sure to check out our latest issue:

KJ 92: Devotion