Fukutegami: write, fold, send; receive, read, put on.
Just like the Internet changed the dynamics of long-distance relationships, Masako Yokoi wants to give separated friends and lovers, quite literally, a new layer. While researching fashion and clothing at Keio University’s master’s program Yokoi came up the idea for Fukutegami. Translating to ‘Clothing Letter,’ the idea was to create a series of garments that had the characteristics of stationery. They could be written on, addressed, and mailed in the post.
The emotions from ‘Inside Out’ and their corresponding kanji character
As Pixar plans the release of their latest film ‘Inside Out,’ slated to hit the big screen in the U.S. on June 17th, so too turns the Japanese marketing engine, albeit in a different direction. Besides opening in Japan 2 weeks later, and under a slightly different name (‘Inside Head’), Disney’s Japan arm has hired calligraphy artist Sisyu to create a unique kanji characters that corresponds to each of Riley’s emotions.
Tokyo-based architect Emmanuelle Moureaux is on a quest to make Japan’s financial services industry more colorful. Her latest work for Sugamo Shinkin Bank – her 5th for the Japanese commercial bank, all equally colorful – is located in the outskirts of Tokyo, about an hour from the country’s capital.
“Satin sheen.” “Smooth finish.” “Polished veneer.” The woodworking section of any home improvement store will have you think it’s a menu for a car wash. With sandpaper that ranges from 60 Grit (coarse) to 320 Grit (x-fine) and a whole range of varnishes we’re led to believe that the best recipe for finishing wooden furniture is sandpaper, vacuum, urethane, sandpaper, vacuum, urethane, repeat. Then repeat again.
But we’re doing it all wrong. At least according to Toshio Tokunaga. “Sandpaper rubs away the natural pattern of the wood, leaving behind a smoothness that is artificial and which obscures the tree’s innate characteristics,” says the craftsman and founder of Tokunaga Furniture.
“Vertical 008″ (2011)
Although he’s been experimenting with stark images of landscapes, the Kyoto-based photographer Hideki Kuwajima is better known for his dazzling photographs of meticulously arranged reflective objects. He starts off by carefully assembling a composition of wine glasses, decanters, goblets, jars and candlesticks, which he shoots like a large still-life.
the new Tokyo headquarters of architectural firm Suppose Design Office
At the age of 26 Makoto Tanijiri founded Suppose Design Office in his hometown of Hiroshima. Over the past 15 years he’s designed numerous retail spaces around Japan and given a significant number of homeowners (a quick count of his residential projects topped 80) some very stylish digs. But last year a big change occurred for the 26-person team. They decided to become incorporated and, in doing so, expand from their base in Hiroshima and establish an office in Tokyo.
“Tone Scape 01″ (cropped). 530x193mm, edition 5, Film Based Photography. Photos courtesy YOD Gallery | click to enlarge
The Kyoto-based photographer Hideki Kuwajima doesn’t carry around his camera. This, perhaps, is why, when he puts his mind to photography, the subjects before him suddenly look different. In the past he’s been known more for his work photographing reflective surfaces like glass bottles. But in a new exhibition in Osaka, Kuwajima points his lens at his hometowns to reveal stark landscapes of Kyoto and Osaka.
The Key in the Hand (2015) by Chiharu Shiota. | All photos by Sunhi Mang
Last year the Japanese visual artist Chiharu Shiota used the attention she was getting from an exhibition in Washington D.C. to make an announcement: she had been selected to represent Japan in this year’s Venice Biennial, but she needed help.
In her own words, she needed a “huge number of keys” and was looking for public donations. If anyone sent Shiota one of the 50,000 keys she managed to collect (we were told they wouldn’t be returned) we now know what they had been used for: an installation comprised of a massive web of yarn that suspended the numerous keys from the ceiling.
Mikoto Chiba (center) and his two apprentices form the legendary shoe shining group Chiba Special
For the last 18 years a man named Mikoto Chiba has been polishing the shoes of businessmen and women working in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Over the years he’s developed a reputation for being the best of the best. Long lines began forming in front of his small stall outside Yurakucho Station and included several notable business leaders. But when stricter street vendor regulations forced him to relocate, his powerful clients pitched in to help make Chiba’s new business, well, special.
a hyper realistic goldfish lollipop | all images courtesy ame-shin.com
Amezaiku is the Japanese craft of lollipop-making, which dates back to the 700s when artisans made mouth-watering and artistic lollipops to be presented as gifts. Carrying on the tradition is 26-year old Shinri Tezuka, the owner of a small shop in the Asakusa district of Tokyo called Ameshin. The store combines a studio and workshop where Tezuka not only fashions his realistic creations, but also holds workshops and demonstrations for the public.