Have you ever met and discussed with a Japanese artisan? Reputed for high-quality gorgeous products (traditional or modern), artisans in Japan typically live in quiet districts or in the countryside and rarely speak English so foreign tourists have few opportunities to know them…
We had the chance to meet Kanesaka-sensei, a sculptor of marvellous miniature gods and Buddhas, at an event promoting the Fukushima prefecture held at Tokyo International Forum on 23 December 2013. This kind joyful artist was moving and impressive, and we will gladly meet him again in his city (Aizu)! Our photos show you Kanesaka-sensei with our team member Sébastien, Shinto and Buddhist miniature statues, a nut containing the 7 Gods of Fortune, and another containing the gods Ebisu and Daikoku.
To fully appreciate the statues, you should turn the nuts in your hands while admiring with a magnifier… Art lovers and fans of Japan would certainly enjoy the experience and wish to bring back a (personalized?) handmade gift or souvenir!
Because Japanese artisans are dedicated and skilled, we recommend you to meet one at his/her workshop or shop during your stay in Japan if you wish to discover Japanese crafts and meet Japanese people. Plan ahead to get an appointment, hire a knowledgeable interpreter and maybe find an illustrated book in English to bring back home afterwards. If you end up far from Tokyo or Kyoto, take the opportunity to savour regional food, discover a little-known area, and send local postcards to your friends and family 🙂 What kind of great artisan would you like to meet on holidays in Japan? Why?
Special thanks to Kanesaka-sensei for his explanations and for allowing us to use his photo.
- Artisan = 職人 (shokunin), Miniature sculpture = 微細彫刻 (Bisai-chokoku).
- Daikoku = 大黒 = 大黒天 (Daikoku-ten), Ebisu = 恵比寿.
- 7 Gods of Fortune = 七福神 (Shichi-fukujin).