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WIN NINGYO: The Art Of The Japanese Doll By Alan Scott Pate

September 21, 2014 8 comments

Hooray! It’s competition time again!

Ningyo - The Art of the Japanese DollFamed the world over for their intricate beauty, Japanese dolls (ningyo) have played an important role in Japanese art and culture. Ningyo: The Art of the Japanese Doll (read review here) is the first comprehensive book on antique Japanese dolls and figurines published in English. The book focuses on dolls in six categories:

  • GOSHO-NINGYO: Palace Dolls and Auspicious Wishes
  • HINA-NINGYO: Dolls for the Girl’s Day Festival
  • MUSHA-NINGYO: Warrior Dolls for the Boy’s Day Festival
  • ISHO-NINGYO: Fashion Dolls and Popular Culture
  • NINGYO IN THE THEATER: Entertaining the Gods and Man
  • NINGYO AND HEALTH: Dolls as Talisman and Tool

Read more…

The Art of the Japanese Sword Competition Now Closed And the Winner Is…

September 16, 2014 2 comments

A winner has been chosen!

The Art Of The Japanese Sword - The Craft Of Swordmaking And Its AppreciationThanks to everyone who entered the competition to win a copy of the book The Art of the Japanese Sword.

Sadly there can only be one winner.

And the winner is… Read more…

Book Review: NINGYO: The Art Of The Japanese Doll

September 9, 2014 1 comment

The first comprehensive book on antique Japanese dolls published in English!

Ningyo - The Art of the Japanese DollNINGYO: The Art of The Japanese Doll, written by Alan Scott Pate, the leading expert on Japanese dolls in the US, is a stunning hardback coffee-table book published by Tuttle Publishing that focuses on an area of Japanese culture little explored by westerners.

More than a plaything, the Japanese doll is a decorative object that is the central focus of many festivals like the Hina Matsuri (the Girl’s Day Festival) which takes place in Japan every year in March. To the world outside Japan, Hina dolls with their elaborate well-detailed costumes are Read more…

WIN The Art Of The Japanese Sword: The Craft Of Swordmaking And Its Appreciation Now Closed!

August 31, 2014 32 comments

Hooray! It’s competition time again!

The Art Of The Japanese Sword - The Craft Of Swordmaking And Its AppreciationIn The Art of the Japanese Sword (Diverse Japan’s review here), master swordsmith Yoshindo Yoshihara offers a detailed look at the entire process of Japanese sword making, including the finishing and appreciation of Japanese blades.

Japanese sword art stands out in many ways: functionality as a weapon, sophisticated metallurgy and metal smithing, the shape of the blade itself—all contribute to the beauty of these remarkable weapons. The Art of the Japanese Sword conveys to the reader Japanese sword history and Read more…

Book Review: The Art Of The Japanese Sword: The Craft Of Swordmaking And Its Appreciation

August 28, 2014 1 comment

Like people and snowflakes, no two Japanese swords are the same!

The Art Of The Japanese Sword - The Craft Of Swordmaking And Its AppreciationWritten by Yoshindo Yoshihara (a third generation swordsmith) with Leon and Hiroko Kapp, The Art of the Japanese Sword is a beautiful large format book (effectively printed on glossy black paper with white text) that focuses on the production and understanding of the symbolic steel weapon once used by samurai and now admired by art collectors all round the world as an object of perfection, although many people use them to practice traditional Japanese martial arts like Iaido (the art of drawing the sword). Read more…

Dressed to Impress – Netsuke And Japanese Men’s Fashion

An exhibition at the British Museum in Room 3 supported by The Asahi Shimbun. 19 June – 17 August 2014

Netsuke of a Chinese boy holding a mask for a lion dance. Unsigned, Japan, early 1800sTo coincide with the publication of the British Museum’s new book, ‘Netsuke: 100 miniature masterpieces from Japan’, by Noriko Tsuchiya, the museum is hosting a small exhibition, ‘Dressed to Impress: Netsuke and Japanese men’s Fashion’ sponsored by the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

As traditional Japanese men’s clothing had no pockets personal effects had to be carried in containers (inrō) hung from the belt (obi). To hang the inrō from the obi a long cord (himo) was threaded Read more…

Netsuke: 100 Miniature Masterpieces From Japan

July 10, 2014 1 comment

A lecture by Noriko Tsuchiya and Max Rutherston, 3rd July 2014

NetsukeThe Japan Society in association with the British Museum hosted a joint lecture at the Swedenborg Society by Max Rutherston, an Asian Art dealer specialising in netsuke, and Noriko Tsuchiya, the author of the British Museum’s new publication, ‘Netsuke: 100 miniature masterpieces from Japan’, a selection from the museum’s 2,300 strong netsuke collection. Read more…

Homage To Composer Miyagi Michio

Koto Anniversary Concert at the Embassy of Japan, London Friday 20th June 2014!

Michio MiyagiAttended by about 100 invited guests, the Embassy of Japan hosted a memorial recital of the koto music of Miyagi Michio, musician and essayist, on Friday 20 June 2014 to celebrate and commemorate the 120th anniversary of his birth. Born in Kobe in 1894 and brought up by his grandmother, by the age of eight he had become blind as a result of eye disease at which point he began to train on the koto under the auspices of Nakamura Kengyo II. He moved to Korea aged 13 and remained there until 1917 when, at the age of 23 he moved to Tōkyō. He was to have been sponsored by Itō Hirobumi, the Prime Minister of Read more…

What Are Weddings Like In Japan?

Wedding gifts for couples consist almost exclusively of only large amounts of cash!

Japanese Weddings While weddings are a big deal in most parts of the world, countries that have extraordinarily rich historical cultures emphasize the importance of the marriage ceremony by weaving together their traditional rituals with modern trends.  Such is the case with the majority of Japanese weddings, which can either reflect historic Shinto tradition or combine it with Read more…

An English translation of ‘Meiji Gekidan: Ranpu No Moto Ni Te’ (Talks On Meiji Era Theatre: Under The Lamp) By Okamoto Kidō

April 14, 2014 2 comments

Translation was undertaken for Kabuki fans who are unable to read Japanese!

Okamoto KidoBorn October 15th 1872 to Okamoto Keinosuke (a samurai retainer of the Tokugawa Shōgunate who, after the Meiji Restoration, went to work for the British Legation as an interpreter) Okamoto Kidō is best known outside of Japan for his mystery novel ‘The Curious Casebook of Inspector Hanshichi’. His family were avid Kabuki fans and well-connected in the theatre world. Though Kidō announced his intention at an early age to become a Kabuki playwright as a consequence of his father’s bankruptcy he had to skip University and Read more…

Four Hundredth Anniversary Of The Death Of Tokugawa Ieyasu & Japan400 Anniversary Event An Answering Visit Of Emissaries From Sumpu-Shizuoka, Four Centuries Later

November 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Death of Tokugawa Ieyasu & Japan400 Anniversary Event An Answering Visit of Emissaries from Sumpu-Shizuoka, Four Centuries LaterDate: Saturday, December 7th, 2013
Venue: SOAS (University of London)

Event Information

Part I: Japan400 Ceremony and Presentations

Read more…

The Nakasendo Road Part Three: Day 7 – 10

October 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Third and final part: Japanophile Trevor Skingle ‘walks Japan’ to raise funds for the humanitarian charity RedR UK!

Nakasedno Road Part Three Day 7 - 10Day Seven: O-tsumago to Kiso-Fukushima – Reports came in that 800mm of rain had fallen on Kyōto as a result of the typhoon Man Yi, that the level of the Kamogawa River at Sanjo Obashi Bridge where the group had walked a few nights before was phenomenally high and there had been Read more…

The Nakasendo Road Part Two: Day 4 -6

October 16, 2013 Leave a comment

Part Two of Three: Japanophile Trevor Skingle ‘walks Japan’ to raise funds for the humanitarian charity RedR UK!

Nakasendo Road Part Two Day 4 - 6Day Four: Hosokute to Okute – For those who had suffered from the unseasonal heat the day’s walk was limited to hiking from Hosokute to Okute, whilst the remainder of the group went on to complete the second part of the hike across Jūsan Toge (Thirteen Passes) into Ena. After an early morning stretch outside the Read more…

The Nakasendō Road Part One: Day 1 – 3

October 8, 2013 2 comments

Part One of Three: Japanophile Trevor Skingle ‘walks Japan’ to raise funds for the humanitarian charity RedR UK!

Statue of Ii Naomasa outside Hikone Station, Hikone Castle Stretching 533km from Edo (modern day Tōkyo) to Kyōtō the Nakasendō Road, though extant since the seventh century, was administratively established as one of the five official roads of the Edo Era (the others being the Tōkaidō, Kōshū Kaidō, Ōshū Kaidō, and Nikkō Kaidō) by Tokugawa Ieyasu shortly after his victory at Read more…

Shinsengumi in, Kyōto: Part Two – Around Kiyamachi Street (Kiyamachi Dōri)

September 30, 2013 4 comments

Concluding story of Shinsengumi: Japan’s “Special military police force”!

Furutaka Shuntaro    Hijikata ToshizōIntroduction

In the lead up to the Meiji Restoration supporters of the Meiji Court, the National Patriots, Ishin Shishi, were formed mainly from the Tozama Daimyo, the Oustide Lords, those who had submitted to the Tokugawa only after their defeat at the battle of Sekigahara and who were predominantly made up of Read more…

Shinsengumi In Kyoto Part One: The Lair Of The Mibu Wolves

August 13, 2013 4 comments

Shinsengumi: Japan’s “Special military police force” during the Bakumatsu years!

Shinsengumi in KyotoIn 1853 Commodore Perry’s Black Ships arrived in Yokohama Bay triggering a series of momentous events that between 1853 and 1867 shook the very foundations of Japanese society, ending Japan’s enforced isolation under the Read more…

Netsuke Exhibitions In London And Budapest

July 5, 2013 6 comments

All great art should evoke reaction and the netsuke in these collections certainly are evocative!

Sennin with snake cat 11

Invented in 17th century Japan netsuke are miniature sculptures carved in a variety of mediums such as ivory, wood and bone that were used to secure the cords attached to small boxes, sagemono (the most popular of which were called inrō) which were hung from the sash, or obi, of a kimono and in which were Read more…

Exhibition: The Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition London

“Photography is the art of visually carving out a primary moment and making it eternal!” His Excellency Mr Keiichi Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan to the UK

The Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo ExhibitionMarch 2013 marks the second anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that devastated eastern Japan. To celebrate the nation’s courage and international support the Asahi Shimbun, widely regarded as one of Japan’s most respected daily newspapers, and Mitsubishi Corporation have come together to host the Great East Japan Earthquake Press photo Exhibition which Read more…

2nd Installment From Okamoto Kido’s Talks On Meiji Era Theatre – Under The Lamp

March 2, 2013 1 comment

Part 14:  The scene at the opening of the new Kabukiza!

Danjurio IX as Komon Mitsukuni 1895 OK part 14Kabuza Gossip – ‘Heart Warming Historical Tales of Kōmon’ (Zokusetsu Bidan Kōmon Ki) — Scholar, Amateur Kabuki Dramatist and Journalist Fukuchi Ōchi — The Appearance of Kabukiza Banzuke advertising posters – ‘The Fire Brigade Fight’ (Megumi no Kenka).

After the Great Earthquake disaster (of 1923) the appearance of the Kabukiza theatre building was once again anticipated. Also a large part of the Read more…

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