MASTERS OF JAPAN
Japan is a very fascinating country, especially for traditions, still very strong and heartfelt. Particularly those related to artiginality and work. In this series of images I have documented some of the masters of the most typical and traditional Japanese arts. From the culinary ones, to the more manual ones.
Mr Yanagita is a master farmer of traditional japanese Azuki beans, which are very popular and of course a prize element in Japanese cuisine. He welcomed us and taught about what makes his azuki beans the best in the world: passion and a glorious combination of natural conditions of this land, where rivers and mountains makes this area of Tamba one of the most fertile of the country.
Mr Urushiya Hayashi in his Laquer lab, where he creates with skillful and wise gestures the lacquer Wara.
Lacquer Wara are handmade objects of various materials. They are made starting from dried mandarine peel that will be later covered with lacquer.
Lacquerware are typical of Kuroe town, Wakayama Prefecture, and are among the most prized in Japan.
Mr. Hiroki Ikegara welcomed us to his historic home in Kuroe, Wakayama prefecture. This House has been owned by his family for 5 generations. The handicraft typical of this area is represented by the lacquer Wara, handmade objects of various materials, covered with lacquer. In his house, he sells and preserves some of his family treasures, among the most prized Lacquerware in Japan.
Yuasa, in the Wakayama Prefecture is known to be the birthplace of Soy Sauce.
In the XIII century a Buddhist monk came back from his travels in China and brought to Yuasa the original Miso receipt, once used to preserve vegetables. The clear spring water of Yuasa was a perfect environment to start producing it.
Soy Sauce happened to be one of the by-product of the Miso making process.
Miso making secrets are still handed down the original and traditional way by Mr Shosuke Ota, owner of Ota Kyusuke Ginei miso factory. Mr Shosuke Ota is one of the last remaining masters of traditional miso-making, and he doesn't deny his concern that these tradition may disappear forever.
Kadocho Soy Sauce Brewery, Yuasa, still manufactures Soy Sauce using traditional techniques. Since it began its production in 1841, the Kadocho soy sauce factory has used the same cedar barrels and the same processes to brew its soy sauce.
Miyamoto Gakyo is a master in Buddhist statues sculpture. He was born in Kyoto, and learned fashion art at an art college. After graduation, he experienced coloring Juichimen kannon (Eleven-faced kannon) at a Buddhist sculpture studio. This experience inspired him to work as a busshi (Buddist sculptor).
He studied as an apprentice for 9 years and acquired the technique for making ihai (Buddhist mortuary tablet) and wooden Buddhist statues. In April, 2015, he set up his studio, Miyamoto-kogei, in Nishiyama, Kyoto.
Tastumura Amane, son of Tastumura Koho , is one the master artists of Nishiki weaving. From long ago in Japan the word Nishiki has been used to describe things of excepcional beauty. In Japanese silk weaving Nishiki represents the pinnacle of silk as a work of art. The result of gathering together the skills and expertise of highly dextrous craftsmen. These incredible amount of processes, the work of patience and diligence is the perfect glance of the unique Japanese sensibility. Japanese people always considered it a great source of national pride.