New Ghibli Museum Exhibition Depicts the Color of Time

Does time have a color? It certainly does. And for director Hayao Miyazaki, the color of time has been an important element of animation throughout his career. For nighttime scenes in particular, the Studio Ghibli animator and his staff have gone to great, painstaking lengths to maintain a sense of translucence and to illustrate darkness without literally darkening the screen. This and several other uses of color are part of a new exhibition opening at the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo.

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An Instagram Account Dedicated to Japanese Walls

all photos by ka_nai (“The Wall”)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It’s a common adage that often rings true, especially depending on your background. Walls, for example, don’t immediately come to mind as a thing of beauty. And thanks to a certain president, they don’t exactly have a great connotation right now. But none of that stopped one Instagram user from spreading his love for walls across the Internet.

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Jinta Hirayama’s Illustrated Fireworks Catalogs from the 1800s

Jinta Hirayama was an enterprising pyrotechnist who, in 1877, founded The Hirayama Fireworks company in Yokohama. Hirayama had come from Mikawa Province (modern-day Aichi Prefecture) which was famous for their fireworks and he recruited several firework artisans to come work for him. Japanese fireworks at the time primarily emitted only subdued orange hues but Hirayama is credited as being one of the first to incorporate brighter colors. And when Ulysses S. Grant visited Japan in 1879, it was Hirayama’s company that was responsible for the fireworks show.

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Beautiful Bottle of Soy Sauce Commemorates the End of the Heisei Era

The abdication of Japan’s Emperor Akihito next year will quite literally be the end of an era. And as Japan prepares to bring an end to the 30-year Heisei era, a Kyushu-based soy sauce manufacturer wanted to do something special to commemorate the occasion.

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Kowa Danchi Offers a Renewed Vision of Housing Projects in Japan

the new Kowa Public Housing project in the foreground surrounded by the old public housing

After hundreds of years of living in wooden homes that were constantly prone to fire, danchi (団地) public housing projects emerged in the 1960s to cope with Japan’s rapid modernization and urbanization. Made from western materials and western designs, they sprung up in suburbs across Japan and drastically changed the lifestyle of millions who found themselves living in a brand new type of community.

But danchi proved to be more dystopian than desired and with the dissolution of the model nuclear family came an increase in isolation and single-person households. But in one small corner of Japan, an experimental new type of public housing is taking root. One that re-imagines public housing as something softer and more gentle. One that has the potential to foster a true type of community.

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Japan House London is Inspired by Traditional Elements of Japanese Homes

Japan House London | all photos by Nacása & Partners Inc courtesy Wonderwall

The Japan House project is a substantial initiative led by the Japanese government to establish hubs around the world – specifically, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo and London – that will showcase Japan via events, exhibitions, retail and food. Under the creative direction of Kenya Hara, different architects were appointed to design each of the hubs. Kengo Kuma was tasked with the Sau Paulo space, artist Kohei Nawa and interior designer Ryu Kosaka worked on the Los Angeles space, and Masamichi Katayama was responsible for the London space. All 3 spaces are now open, so here is a look into the most recent: Japan House London, which opened this summer.

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Peak Persimmon Drying Season Drapes Orange Curtains Throughout Wakayama

photos by Hirobumi Kakidaira courtesy Sankei Photo

It’s peak persimmon drying season in Japan right now. And for Wakayama prefecture, a major producer of persimmons, that means that roughly 70 farmers throughout the town of Katsuragi transform their farms into what is reminiscent of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s The Gates, a 2005 art installation of orange curtains hung through New York’s Central Park.

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Pop-Up Café In Tokyo Will Allow Severely Disabled to Work Using Robotic Avatars

The DAWN Café is an upcoming trial project that will test an inclusive working environment. The café will seemingly be staffed with robots that will wait on you by bringing you your coffee and asking if you need anything. But if you think this is another example of robots coming for our jobs, you would be mistaken. Embedded within the robots are real intelligence: they’re operated remotely by people with severe disabilities who often can’t leave their bed.

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Results From the 2018 Takaoka Craft Competition

The Takaoka Craft Competition is one of the oldest and most anticipated contemporary craft shows in Japan. Throughout its 32 year-history, the competition has allowed two categories: a “factory category” that focuses on mass-production and a “contemporary category” that emphasis artistic qualities. But this year they’ve eliminated categorization and have proposes just one theme: embracement.

The idea behind the theme is to transcend titles like craftsperson, designer, artist and instead, explore the possibilities the lie within the liminal, infinite space between art and product. That direction, as put forth by head judge Masanori Oji, has resulted in some fantastic works. Below are some of our favorites:

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The Architectural Ceramics of Yuki Nara

“bone flower” is a series of architectural ceramics by Yuki Nara

Yuki Nara is a descendant of the Ohi-yaki house of ceramics. So to say that there was some pressure to become a potter, would be an understatement. “In elementary school I didn’t even want to touch clay,” says 29-year old Nara, discussing his rebellious childhood.

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