Tag Archives: Shichi-fukujin

Meet great Japanese artisans: sculptor of miniature gods and Buddhas…

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.

Japanese artisan Kanesaka-sensei with Sébastien.

Shinto and Buddhist miniature statues.

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!

Miniature statue: nut containing the 7 Gods of Fortune.

Miniature statue: nut containing Ebisu and Daikoku.

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.

USEFUL LINKS

 

USEFUL JAPANESE
  • 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).

Japanese Shinto shrines at night: Kanda-myojin in Tokyo

Have you ever visited a Shinto shrine at night in Japan? Except for special celebrations (e.g. New Year), Japanese Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples typically end their service around 17:00 and provide little or no light afterwards so tourists cannot see much at night even if the gates remain open…

Shinto shrine near Ochanomizu station in Tokyo, Kanda-myojin is an exception: you can admire its beautiful lanterns and illuminated statues every night until 23:00! Our photos (19 December 2013) show you its main hall, outdoor lanterns and a statue of the god Daikoku.

Kanda-myojin at night: main hall.

Kanda-myojin at night: outdoor lanterns.

Kanda-myojin at night: statue of the god Daikoku.

Because the night falls early and is safe in Japan, we recommend you to visit a lit-up shrine before dinner if you appreciate the Japanese culture, traditional architecture or Asian religions. Some Japanese people will tell you to beware of monsters at shrines during the night but, if you are not afraid, you can bring back a pleasant unique memory, special holiday photos and another feeling about Japanese spirituality 🙂

USEFUL LINKS

 

USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Shinto shrine = 神社 (jinja), Buddhist temple = お寺 (otera).
  • Kanda shrine = 神田明神 (Kanda-myojin), Daikoku = 大黒 = 大黒天 (Daikoku-ten).
  • Tokyo = 東京, Ochanomizu station = 御茶ノ水駅 (Ochanomizu-eki).