Gato Mikio Has Been Preserving the Art of Hand-Turned Woodwork for Over 100 Years

Gato Mikio was founded in 1908 in Yamanaka Hot Spring, a town famed for wood turning. Following the intentions and spirit of the original kijishi wood-turners, the company has dedicated itself to preserving the craft of woodwork and lacquerware by creating timeless and functional tableware that accentuates the beauty of natural wood.

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A Temporary Floating Forest Will Replace Fukuoka’s Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine During Renovations

renderings of the temporary shrine set to replace the main hall from May 2023 – May 2026 | images courtesy Sou Fujimoto Architects

Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, one of Japan’s most-historically and culturally significant shrines, will undergo a massive renovation beginning in May of 2023. And for three years the honden main hall will be completely closed off to the roughly 10 million visitors who come to the shrine each year. So plans were made to create a temporary hall of worship and it was architect Sou Fujimoto who was selected for his use of blending nature with architecture.

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Paper-Cut Cityscapes by Kirie Artist Hiroki Saito

all images by Hiroki Saito | used with permission

Hiroki Saito first discovered the art of kirie in high school. And for the past 8 years he has been perfecting his craft. Saito’s dedication is evident in his work, which features meticulous and delicate incisions that render cityscapes so lifelike they could easily be mistaken for photographs.

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The Amaterasu Railway Now Runs on Leftover Tonkotsu Ramen Broth

unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy Takachiho Amaterasu Railway

The Amaterasu Railway in Miyazaki Prefecture is a popular local train that takes passengers on a gorgeous 30-minute journey through the spectacular scenery of Takachiho. The quirky train is known for its open roof, its journey over Japan’s highest train bridge, and train conductors who blow bubbles along the way. But now they’re known for something else: leaving passengers feeling hungry.

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Kimono Portraits Were Popular Souvenirs for Sailors Visiting Japan in the 1800s

Horyu Goseda was a Japanese artist who lived from 1827 to 1892. He spent the majority of his career working in Yokohama, a port town distinguished by a strong presence of foreign sailors and western influence. Although he worked in a traditional Japanese style, painting narrow silk wall hangings, he pioneered what came to be called Yokohama-e, paintings that combined western techniques of modeling with light and shade, and perspective. But to make ends meet, Goseda developed a side-hustle: painting portraits for foreigners dressed in traditional kimono.

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Dolce Takubo is a Stunning Made-To-Order Patisserie in Daikanyama

photos by Satoshi Shigeta courtesy Tadokoro Sekkei

Set off of a busy street in Shibuya’s Daikanyama neighborhood is a stunning combination of wood and stone that breaks up the urban landscape with quiet tranquility. Carved into one of the large, granite stepping stones are the words Dolce Takubo, which is the name of this patisserie that serves some of the most delectable desserts.

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The Female Gaze: Woman Filmmakers from JAPAN CUTS and Beyond

two of us © Risa Negishi

Spotlighting Contemporary Female Directors, Producers, Cinematographers & Screenwriters from Japan & A Classics Film Selection (November 11-20, 2022)

A survey of the growing prominence and visibility of women in film, the latest ACA Cinema Project series The Female Gaze: Women Filmmakers from JAPAN CUTS and Beyond focuses on the essential roles that female artists play from behind the camera in Japanese cinema—ranging from directing and screenwriting to production and cinematography. Presenting an exciting array of screenings and premieres—that include new mainstream and independent works from JAPAN CUTS alumni and rising talents alongside a classics selection—The Female Gaze offers a much-needed deep dive into the remarkable and overlooked contributions of women in contemporary Japanese cinema.

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Every Fall This High School Art Teacher in Nara Sweeps Fallen Leaves into Ephemeral Art

this year’s fall foliage creation is the cat bus from My Neighbor Totoro | all images courtesy hamacream

Over a decade ago a high school art teacher in Nara asked himself the question, what are some free activities that would inspire students to take an interest in art? The answer lay at his feet: the vibrant colors of the fall foliage that had fallen to the ground. So he picked up a broomstick and got to work.

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This Community Candy Shop Serving Impoverished Kids Just Won Japan’s Most-Prestigious Design Award

This week Japan’s Good Design Awards, which have been recognizing achievements in product design across industries since 1957, announced their 2022 top awards. Among the winners were Terumo’s flow disruptor that treats brain aneurysms and Hitachi’s modular refrigerator that blends in with the rest of your furniture. But the recipient of the grand prize wasn’t a global brand, nor did it utilize cutting edge technology. Instead, it employed a unique business model at the community level that was aimed at nourishing and enriching the lives of children.

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Japan’s Jimi ‘Mundane’ Halloween Costumes of 2022

Ah, it’s Halloween weekend. And that means it’s time for our favorite Japanese festival Jimi Halloween, where people dress up in costumes so mundane they have to be explained.

The tradition was started in 2014 by a group of adults at Daily Portal Z who “kind of wanted to participate in the festivities of Halloween, but were too embarrassed to go all out in witch or zombie costumes.” So instead of the flashy and flamboyant costumes they had been seeing gain popularity in Japan, they decided to dress up in mundane, everyday costumes.

You can comb through social media using the hashtag #地味ハロウィン but below we present to you some of our favorites from this year’s festivities. We’ve been covering this event since 2018 so you can also take a look at some past years too!

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