CURRENT ISSUE KJ92: DEVOTION

INSIGHTS FROM ASIA

Kyoto Journal is an award-winning
quarterly English magazine founded in Kyoto, Japan,
presenting cultural and historical insights from
all of Asia since 1987.

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Into the Hills

Into the Hills

Up into the Northern Hills,
up the slender, winding road
to the last bus stop; get out, walk
the narrowing valley to the end,
climb steep stone stairs.
Pause there for a cup of tea.

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

Mio Heki: Kintsugi Artist and Urushi Master

“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.”

Tuttle Kimono Design

Kimono Design: An Introduction?

This is an extremely beautiful book. Every page explodes with color and pattern: exquisite embroidery, wonderful hand painting, complex dyeing, evocative renditions of natural motifs. An astonishing variety is presented.

Douglas Brooks Japanese boatbuilding

An Apprentice Boatbuilder in Japan

I returned to Japan expressly to interview one of the boatbuilders I met on that first trip. Mr. Koichi Fujii was the last builder of taraibune, or tub boats, and with the help of an interpreter I did my best to begin documenting what he knew.

Seoul buildings

Distant and Far Apart

Watching painters work was something I’ve always been drawn to. How they licked their lips. How their eyes never seemed to blink. How they paced alone in cluttered rooms, stared at things as if defusing bombs, and every breath was a hiccup from boom…

Koya Abe selling vintage records in Tokyo

Koya Abe: Selling Vintage Records in Tokyo

Koya Abe spent most of the six-minute-long 2011 Tōhoku earthquake keeping his 78rpm records from falling off the shelves. The delicate collectibles are stored in open-mouth crates mounted on the wall of his Tokyo record shop.

Chiori in Iya Valley - Issue 82

Chikamichi: The Shortcut

Subsistence farming in the mountains is not usually conducive to amassing any great wealth. But then I looked again at the houses and fields, a whole village created from nothing more than wood, bamboo, stone, clay, vine, straw, grass, and the knowledge of how to use them…

Matsumoto Sachiko: Bringing Japanese Crafts to the World

Matsumoto Sachiko: Bringing Japanese Crafts to the World

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

Kyoto Journal - Tree

Giant Bonsai

 “Cut it down. You’ll have a better view of the rhodies,” one neighbor suggested.

But why? I loved seeing the fir’s textured bark arcing across the backyard and then shooting up to the sky.

“This is the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen, “ my mother said. “It’s a giant bonsai without wires.”

on the blog

Toyama-ken Gogoku Shrine-min

Located on Honshu island’s north-west coast and just under 3 hours away from Tokyo on the bullet train, Toyama is perhaps better known as a convenient stop for access to the Tateyama mountain range, where visitors can traverse an impressive corridor of snow up to 20 meters high in the months of April through June.

KJ’s Anna Malpas and Minechika Endo spent the day exploring glorious Shiga, just a short train ride away from Kyoto! We were treated to some of the incredible tastes of Shiga, from the delicious Matsu no Hana sake, to a local delicacy called funazushi – a fish that has been packed in rice and fermented for up to four years. We also enjoyed amazing views from the Biwako Terrace after an incredibly speedy trip on the Biwako Valley Ropeway.

Shirahige Shrine

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KJ 92: Devotion