Art critics the world over and through the centuries have praised the enduring beauty and unique craftsmanship of Japanese applied arts. Japanese artisans, through a lifelong and selfless dedication to their craft, continue to create objects that are surprisingly relevant and refreshingly new.
Japan Arts Connection Lab is honored to introduce individuals who have devoted their lives to the creation of traditional Japanese arts and crafts. They are acclaimed masters in their field, produce work of unparalleled quality, and continue to innovate through modern interpretations of their age-old craft. We aim to play a key role in fostering and sharing these traditional skills with the US general public. Taking advantage of the rich Japanese heritage in the Pacific Northwest and its network of experts on Japanese and global arts and culture, we have constructed a bridge to enable Japan's master craftsmen and performers to pass on their knowledge to the future generations.
Each object these masters create unites refined aesthetics and superior craftsmanship. Each work carries within its forms the history and culture of a country that, despite its small size, has contributed enormously to the artistic and economic development of the world.
It can be said that the ancient techniques handed down from master to apprentice through many centuries make the products of these craftsmen the embodiment of Japanese culture itself. As such, the best craftsmen are afforded "National Living Treasure" by the Japanese government. For a master craftsman, it literally takes a lifetime to perfect their skills. Many have passed on since the designation of "National Living Treasure" was created in the 1970s. Most are in their 70s and 80s today and their spirit of service inspires them to hand down their expertise to younger apprentices in Japan, the US, or elsewhere.
With their hands these masters fashion blades out of rock, cups out of clay, smooth bowls out of rough wood, sumptuous robes out of silkworm threads. Such is the perfection of these works that they last for centuries and their beauty speaks to generations. Thus the surface of these objects becomes a canvas to express culture, ideals and emotions.