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Akito Akagi
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN

Akito Akagi: A thousand year old lifeform

In Wajima, a single bowl or cup requires nearly a dozen craftsmen and a vast array of techniques and processes to be produced. Over the past twenty years demand has begun drying up and craft families are leaving for more lucrative careers.... »STORY

Mitsuo Ikeshita
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN

Mitsuo Ikeshita: Carving wooden cores

Half formed wooden bowls are stacked a dozen high along the walls of 74 year old Mitsuo Ikeshita's workshop. Late afternoon light crosses a small rural road, and enters through the windows, illuminating piles of sawdust, and Ikeshita sits... »STORY

Kazuo Wakaoka
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN

Kazuo Wakaoka: Reflections from a tree

The sap from a Japanese Urushii tree is toxic, difficult to extract and nearly as valuable as gold. This precious syrup, gathered from a dwindling supply of trees scattered around Japan’s countryside, is the essential material required... »STORY

Ryue Nishizawa
PHOTOGRAPHY: TAKASHI OKAMOTO

Ryue Nishizawa: Travel from Places to Spaces

Architect Ryue Nishizawa (b. 1966) has become one of the faces of Japanese architecture today. While maintaining his own eponymous office, he is also a principal at SANAA, which received The Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2010 for their... »STORY

Taiun Mochizuki
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN

Taiun Mochizuki: Circling to Nothingness

The final in a three-part series on Japanese Suzuri. Thick and black; reflecting the fading sunlight, a small sea of ink rests inside the pool of a carved Amehata stone Suzuri. This sumi ink, made from bamboo ash mixed with melted fish... »STORY

Yataro Amemiya
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN

Yataro Amemiya: Entranced By a Rock

The second in a three-part series on Japanese Suzuri. Suzuri are an essential part of Japan’s writing history but they are also an embodiment of Japan’s spiritual history; as instruments for meditation. “If you want to write... »STORY

Gyokusen Mochizuki
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN

Gyokusen Mochizuki: The Inkstone Cave

The first in a three-part series on Japanese Suzuri The stone is cold and wet to touch; a close grained and smooth slate. In the dark we feel for an end to the rock before a single light bulb turns on. Deep inside a forested Yamanashi... »STORY

Koichi Kashimoto
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN

Koichi Kashimoto: Extracting Old Earth

The third in a three part series on Bizenyaki, Okayama Ceramics. A clay Bizen bowl you see today will not look so different from a clay Bizen bowl made a thousand years ago; it will be unglazed, rough and textured. It will be thick and... »STORY

Toshin Fujiwara
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN

Toshin Fujiwara: Clay Idols

The second of a three-part series on Bizenyaki, Okayama Ceramics. We are travelling through the town of Imbe, passing dozens of red brick chimneys which rise up over clay tiled rooftops; passing thousands of stacked pieces of wood ready... »STORY

Eisuke Morimoto
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN

Eisuke Morimoto: Burnt By Flames

The first of a three-part series on Bizenyaki, Okayama Ceramics 12,000 years ago the world’s first forms of pottery were made in Japan. Archaeologists have retrieved fragments of this Jomon ware (cups, bowls and other items) from all... »STORY

Motoyuki Shibata
PHOTOGRAPHY: ROLAND KELTS

Motoyuki Shibata: All Stories About Travel

I met Motoyuki Shibata several years ago in New York City at a reading by one of his friends—Haruki Murakami. I bowed, blurting out my clunky Japanese greetings, and Shibata replied in impeccable English. Since then we have met in Tokyo,... »STORY

Hoki Naritoshi
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN

Hoki Naritoshi: Tradition Grown from Trees

The last of a three-part series on Mino Washi Tradition is an echo, heard slightly differently by each new generation, a pattern of knowledge passed from old to young. Adaptation is the only way to guarantee the survival of these... »STORY

Shouji Kazunari
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN

Shouji Kazunari: Knowledge into Tools

The second of a three-part series on Mino Washi Man can do many thing without tools but with tools he can become godlike. And so it is that the alchemy of handmade paper is completely reliant on two tools: the Keta (or ‘Koteh’ as... »STORY

Masahi Sawamura
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN

Masashi Sawamura: Paper out of Liquid

The first of a three-part series on Mino Washi There was a time when all the paper in Mino was made collectively by the hands of Mino. Every part of the process– the stripping of bark from Kozo (Mulberry) branches, the boiling of the... »STORY

Hiroyuki Takahashi
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN

Hiroyuki Takahashi: The Floating Peacocks

The third of a three-part series looking at superstitions surrounding fishing in Yaizu, one of Japan’s most notorious fishing ports. Fishing can sometimes take on mystical dimensions. In Yaizu, superstition is rife among sailors and... »STORY

Kiyo Naito
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN

Kiyo Naito: Shirts For Fishing

The first of a three-part series looking at superstitions surrounding fishing in Yaizu, one of Japan’s most notorious fishing ports. Everything is packed away inside Enshuya, which is understandable- it’s winter. Through the sliding... »STORY

Mirei Shigemori
PHOTOGRAPHY: TAKASHI HOMMA

Mirei Shigemori: Timeless Gardens

It’s hard to find a spot in Kyoto that feels all your own. The city is dotted with famous temples and their gorgeous grounds, but it’s impossible to find one that isn’t crowded year round. What’s more, while each boasts historic... »STORY

Hiroshi Miura
PHOTOGRAPHY: MERCEDES VILLALBA

Hiroshi Miura: Wood Philosophy

Japan has an overwhelming tradition of carpentry. It’s easy to notice that nature itself, and trees in particular, have a sacred place in Japanese cosmology. Shinto is one of Japan’s ancient religions, a ‘religion of the forest’... »STORY

Ogawa Kite Shop
PHOTOGRAPHY: KAORI IKENAGA

Ogawa: Keeping Nagasaki Tradition

The Ogawa Kite Shop is the last of a long tradition of Kite making and flying in Nagasaki- and in all of Japan for that matter.  When one opens the door to the Ogawa Kite Shop you’ll be stunned by the number of small and large kites... »STORY

Shusetsu Tachibana
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAMERON ALLAN MCKEAN

Shusetsu Tachibana: The Last Sansuke

With wrinkled and nimble hands Shusetsu Tachibana washes the back of 77 year old Sugiwara-san. As the oldest customer at Saito-yu, Sugiwara-san is only a few years younger than the baths themselves. This washing ritual is very old and well... »STORY