Culture

Shokunin and Devotion

The Japanese word ‘shokunin’ is often translated as ‘artisan’ in English. Although it isn’t incorrect by definition, the translation seems to lose the spirit of what a shokunin does. I’m reminded of this every time I explain the works and lives of shokunin to an overseas audience, which happens to be what I do for a living.

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Butsudan Boys

“Portraits of Eldest Sons” is a series of photographs addressing the relationship between young men and their family homes. Photographer Saito Hiroshi took indvidual portraits of himself and his friends—all young men aged around 20 or 21, and all eldest sons—in the rooms where their family butsudan, in-house Buddhist altars, are displayed.

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The Art of Island Time

Walking Ark, on Ogijima by Keisuke Yamaguchi

One element that visitors must not lose sight of when they attend the Setouchi Triennale is that the showcasing of art is almost secondary, or rather a “hook” in order to showcase the islands themselves. The goal is to raise awareness about the dire effects that depopulation has had on those insular communities that used to play a very important role in the social and economic fabric of this part of Japan

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God in Pictures

Korean shaman painting

I was baffled by her effort to pay homage to a large, framed (glass, metal) painted image of the mountain spirit (a wizened old man with a tiger and young attendant) that was up a pathway on the north side of Manisan Mountain peak, when we could actually at minimum address the spirits of the peak in front of us.

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The Bride of Boneyard Kitaro

When Nunoe’s uncle told the family he’d found a match for her in a 39 year-old veteran who’d lost his left arm in the war and wrote comic books in Tokyo, Nunoe’s father rubbed his chin and said “make it happen.”

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Japanese Tattoo

I had become entranced with irezumi, more elegantly known as hori-mono, the Japanese tattoo. Yet I had known, from its first vague awakening, that my interest somehow lay deeper than my skin…

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Kim Keumhwa’s Everyday Shamanism

BY Lauren W. Deutsch,
Kim Keumhwa, Korea’s renowned charismatic naramansin, “national” shaman, is already awake…preparing to greet the spirits lodged in her small sindang (spirits’ shrine room) next to her bedroom.

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Zen & the Art of Rejuvenation

Taizo-in launched its groundbreaking ‘Fusuma-e Project’ in the spring of 2011. The Zen temple is commissioning a young, unknown Kyoto-based artist to compose large sumi-e ink paintings on 64 new sliding doors, or fusuma…

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The Epic of Tea

TEA
BY DANIEL R. KANE

“Why do you study Tea?” The usual answers perhaps are enough: “It is an aesthetic exercise; a Zen discipline; a unique means of social interaction.” Yet, I have wondered if there might be some other attraction to Tea; something not so apparent…

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Blessings of the Dragon Gods

The moves of a master calligrapher resemble those of a dragon in flight. The calligraphy is so alive and vigorous that it seems to contain a dragon’s spirit flowing in the brush strokes…

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Heart

The core of kokoro (the heart) is the search for wa (peace or harmony); this search manifests itself in all areas of life…

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

KJ 92: Devotion