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    2015/11/29
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joururi

bunraku; puppet play

As written in the previous post, Japan kept national isolation policy for more than 250 years. It refrained from developing the democracy and helped to keep feudal system with strict social classes. On the other hand, the long period without large wars helped make the society stable and increase the national population from approximately 12million to 30million during that period.

During Edo period, Japan developed many

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    2015/11/28
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IMG_4801

During the Edo period, Japan closed its country border and did not trade with foreign nations except for China, Korea and the Netherlands. All ships from overseas had to stay in Nagasaki and all non-Japanese had to live in a small island dedicated to only foreigners. Japanese were banned from visiting foreign countries and local feudal lords were not allowed to build ships. Only boats were allowed to be made for

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    2015/11/27
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kurashiki

As mentioned in the previous post, people were living separately based on their social class. Many of the traditional old towns that we can visit today date back to Edo period and each has different character based on which class of people were living.

Hagi in Yamaguchi prefecture, Kakunodate in Akita prefecture, and Tsuwano in Shimane are famous

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    2015/11/25
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Tokugawa dynasty developed social class system which was composed with warriors/feudal lords (samurai), farming peasants, crafts professionals and merchants. Nobilities, Buddhist monks, Shinto priests were out of this hierarchy system. During Edo period, people did not have freedom to choose their social class and place to live. Social class was hereditary and place of living was precisely separated by classes. Farming peasants were living in village whereas people of other three classes were living in castle town. Inside the castle

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    2015/11/24
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edo castle

When you come to Japan, you would find many interesting seasonal events or way of thinking which are related with Shinto and Buddhism. In addition to those two religions, some historical knowledge would help you understand Japanese culture and habits today. The key periods to understand Japanese society are Edo period (1603-1868), Muromachi period (1338-1573) and Heian period (794-1185). In 1603,

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    2015/11/22
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john with clay

His visit proved fruitful. A chance exchange with the owner of Tokyo ware shop led to the owner asking Kaneshige to take an apprentice. Expressing his heartfelt desire to learn the art of Bizen yaki (Bizen ware), John was accepted as a disciple of the illustrious master. Two years had passed since he first wrote to the master.

The apprenticeship was not easy. For the

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    2015/11/21
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Inside the factory of John

Inside the factory of John

John was born in the US and lived there until settling in Japan 30 years ago. He is a Bizen yaki (Bizen ware) expert who apprenticed to Japanese Bizen master Michiaki Kaneshige, a Living Prefectural Treasure and first son of Living National Treasure Toyo Kaneshige. John currently lives in Bizen City, Japan, where he operates his own kiln.

Bizen City, the

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    2015/11/20
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bizen ware2
The beauty of Bizen ware, or Bizen yaki, is strongly related to its rough texture and sober color. Its beauty was discovered at the end of the 16th century as the Japanese established their world-renowned tea ceremony. When the tea ceremony began to embrace ultimate simplicity, tea masters gradually favored Bizen yaki. They preferred Bizen yaki because of the simplicity. The aesthetics of beauty in simplicity and incompleteness, which was

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    2015/11/19
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bizen ware

At first glance, you may be confused as to why Japanese people consider Bizen-style pottery very beautiful and one of their most valued cultural arts. Because its color does not seem to be something special, the shape looks ordinary. You could pick up a Bizen-style pottery by the roadside without realizing its beauty. But if you were to take it home and display it in a tokonoma alcove, you will

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    2015/11/18
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bonsai

Bonsai is a miniature tree in a small container, but more than that. Bonsai is an art to create majestic scenery inside the container. Unlike pictures or sculptures, it is a living art and the time plays an important role. You’d easily find more than 80 years old but only 40 cm high bonsai in a garden. Time plays important role to make beautiful shape as the bonsai owner intend. In

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