OUR KYOTO

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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Welded from Nature: The Botanical Creations of Shota Suzuki

October 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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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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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

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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Ono Tadashi Coastal Motifs

KYOTOGRAPHIE Breaks New Ground

May 6, 2018

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.

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1970s Kyoto

April 17, 2018

My roommate moonlights as a desk clerk at a guest house for foreigners and cuts most of his classes so he is seldom home. Most of the other boarders spend evenings in each other’s rooms screaming and jostling each other amid the familiar click and clatter of mahjong pieces being scrambled across a kotatsu table. This is there last fling at wasting time before the responsibilities of company employment and family beckon after graduation.

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Kurahashi Yoshio: Shakuhachi Master

November 1, 2017

As with other arts, shakuhachi’s “traditional” characteristics are constantly evolving. Hesitating to call himself traditional, sensei’s eyes light up when discussing how the music is changing.

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The Way of Food

August 10, 2017

Sen Sumiko (1920-2004) was the daughter of Yukosai, the ninth grand master of the Musanokoji branch of the three Sen families descended from Sen Rikyu and the mother of the present, eleventh grand master, Futessai Sōshu.

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No Translation Needed: KYOTOGRAPHIE 2017

May 3, 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.

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

March 8, 2017

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.

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Nama Chocolat Organic Teahouse

September 25, 2016

Nakanishi Hirofumi’s signature Sweet, Bitter and Matcha nama chocolates reflect modern tastes while paying tribute to Kyoto and its centuries-old artisan heritage.

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Dream Corridor

June 23, 2016

It all began in 1980, when I was 29, with the first of a series of vivid dreams. These occurred at dawn and continued through four summer mornings. I would find myself in an unfamiliar yet comfortable foreign land, with men, women and kids whom I cared for, yet could not upon waking recall ever having met…

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

KJ 92: Devotion