OUR KYOTO

KYOTOGRAPHIE 2019: A review

May 9, 2019

KYOTOGRAPHIE has been successful partly because photographic images have the ability to transcend linguistic differences through ishin denshin: wordless communication, heartstrings vibrating in harmony.“Vibe,” which situates ishin denshin within a specific locale, is a fitting theme for the photography festival, now in its seventh year.

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Kyoto’s Festivals: Twelve Months of Everyday Transience

April 2, 2019

In Kyoto, one grows accustomed to the ongoing round of festivals at Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines—it’s said that you could attend at least one every day here, throughout the year. But the word ‘festival’ doesn’t quite capture the spirit of the majority of these events. With some notably lively exceptions, they are mostly rather formal annual cere­monies and rituals…

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The Vanishing Radish

March 3, 2019

As a farmer, it may seem commonplace that varieties of vegetables do not exist forever, but are in constant competition with each other for survival on our dinner plates, and that the development of modern agriculture and inter-regional (and now international) trade in produce have greatly accelerated this process.

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Carpenter to the Gods: An interview with traditional carpenter Kawai Takami

February 26, 2019

“…when your efforts are such a tiny part of a project spanning thousands of years, you learn to appreciate the importance of small steps. If you imagine that your efforts are connecting to something eternal, speed seems relative.”

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Setsubun

February 2, 2019

Their faces twisted in a permanent grimace. With scimitar­ like tusks and beady eyes that darted from face to face, the Oni advanced slowly into the crowd. Two bony horns protruded from their manes of coarse, filthy hair, and each had a different shade of scaly skin – one red, one yellow, and the last blue…

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KYOTO EXPERIMENT: In Conversation with Yusuke Hashimoto

December 12, 2018

“Before, the younger artists based here in the Kansai region who wanted to grow internationally had to always to go Tokyo in the beginning to be acquainted with the right critics or journalists living there who could help launch their careers. But I wanted to create an international platform so that these artists could easily make the connections here”

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Welded from Nature: The Botanical Creations of Shota Suzuki

December 9, 2018

“In my work, I try to pursue the balance between the beautiful energy and sensual intimacy that I feel from both nature and metals. I can’t explain my love of plant motifs, I just never grow tired of them…”

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Julie Gramlich: Researching female entrepreneurship in Japan

November 6, 2018

Julie Gramlich worked for a female founder in the Silicon Valley before receiving the Japanese Education Ministry’s MEXT scholarship to study the entrepreneurial environment for women in Japan. As part of this research, Julie has interviewed over 20 Japanese women in a range of fields.

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Setsubun Girl

October 18, 2018

An oni with a magical hammer comes to tempt her, dressed as a mortal man. He strikes his hammer once, and magnificent kimono appear from thin air, which she accepts with protest and delight.

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Kyoto in the Mid-sixties

October 14, 2018

Waiting in the snow at the Ryoan-ji bus stop on a Kyoto winter morning in 1964, I was interrupted by a woman who came out of a nearby house and, seeing me standing there, went back inside and returned with an overcoat which she helped me into. It was a three-quarter-length brown coat, and warm…That was my introduction to Kyoto.

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Honyarado: Losing Kyoto’s Counter-Culture Hub

September 7, 2018

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.

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The Glass Room

September 3, 2018

One enormous bowl, by contemporary American glass artist Dalie Chihuly, glows from a showcase beneath a transparent floor of glass. Frothy green tea is served to visitors in 19th century glass bowls from Italy. The keeper of the glass room is the shrine’s former head priest, 76 year-old Torii Hiroyoshi.

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

Mio Heki: Kintsugi Artist and Urushi Master

August 28, 2018

“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.”

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Matsumoto Sachiko: Bringing Japanese Crafts to the World

Matsumoto Sachiko: Bringing Japanese Crafts to the World

August 24, 2018

Matsuyama Sachiko is the founder of monomo, a business linking Japanese craftspeople with an international audience and encouraging cultural inspiration.

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Totousha teahouse Kyoto

In a House Living with Tea

August 22, 2018

“Inspired by tea, the housemates show us that it is possible to live creatively and mindfully in this modern day world. It seems fitting that such a place exists in Kyoto, a city that epitomizes the juxtaposition of old and new.”

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Small Buildings of Kyoto

Small Buildings of Kyoto

August 20, 2018

Small Buildings of Kyoto features 100 images of the quaint homes, businesses, workshops, as well as the occasional neighbourhood shrine and teahouse, that make up the fabric of Japan’s ancient capital.

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Ukishima Menu

Naoko Nakasone: Rejuvenating Spirit Food in Okinawa

August 19, 2018

“When people grew millet and grains, they didn’t need to scramble for food. Scrambling causes conflict, but in the absence of scrambling there was peace. For this reason, people really appreciated millet and served it to the gods as an expression of gratitude. “

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The English-speaking maiko Tomitsuyu of Tomikiku Teahouse, Gion Higashi

Living Kagai Culture: Field Notes from Kyoto’s “Flower Towns” 

August 17, 2018

The characters for kagai, Kyoto’s geiko districts, are often translated as ‘flower town’. Early in my research I began exploring this metaphor of a garden for the kagai’s cultural ecosystem. I soon discovered that, as in gardens, there are many layers, perspectives and influences.

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Stepping into Metamorphosis: The Shoes of Masaya Kushino

August 16, 2018

“My work is not just about the technical details of making a shoe, but an exploration of a fantasy, a story or something historical.”

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Chiemi Ogura bamboo craftswoman Kyoto photo by Irwin Wong

Chiemi Ogura: Bamboo Craftswoman

August 8, 2018

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.

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建仁寺_黒畳_20180514_©Naoyuki_Ogino-4861

Interview with Mitsuru Yokoyama, Tatami Artisan

July 18, 2018

“What I make, and all Japanese craftsman make ages with you. This is an investment in yourself, your life.”

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

KJ 93: Food