All About Japan

All About the Local Creators' Market

Launched by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Local Creators’ Market focuses on five Japanese locales noted for producing exquisite traditional handicrafts.

The Incredible History of Nintendo Explained

Thanks to traditional Japanese playing cards, the Japanese mafia and an extendable toy claw, this company transformed itself into one of the most iconic gaming brands in Japan.

The Organic Beauty of Kaga Lacquerware

A mountainous land dotted with hot springs, Yamanaka in Ishikawa Prefecture is a major center of lacquerware production, thanks to woodturners who emigrated to this area 400 years ago.

For Custom Fabric Colors, Go to Sumida-ku

Place an order with a swatch or color chip, and shops in this Tokyo district will delve into a formidable databank of colors amassed over the history of the craft to instantly dye your fabric to the exact color of the sample.

Taking Denim Beyond the Jean Jacket

Hiroshima is known for its denim. But the denim being made here may not be the kind of denim you know!

2 Modern Masters of Woodwork & Lacquer

Working by hand at scales that can at times only be seen with a magnifying glass, these two artisans are heirs to a 400-year-old legacy of woodworking in Ishikawa Prefecture.

The Hand-Dyeing Specialists of Sumida-ku

If you're looking for custom, hand-dyed fabrics, these three specialists in Sumida-ku, Tokyo, are dyeing to set you up!

Japanese Painter Creates Photo-real Portraits

Yasutomo Oka’s oil portraits are so lifelike you'll swear they were captured with a camera.

An Innovative 'Nueu' Braille Typeface

A Japanese designer has created a new braille typeface that communicates in unexpected and innovative ways.

A Home Embracing the Art of Clutter

An Osaka-based designer created a house to showcase the beauty of having a personal hoard.

Endless Design Possibilities: Fukuyama Denim

Specialists in every step of denim manufacture—spinning, dyeing, weaving, washing—abound in Fukuyama, a leading producer of denim in Japan. The locale is a driving force behind the worldwide appeal of Japanese denim.

The Weird Art of Everyday Life

This Japanese artist uses their keen photographic eye to capture strange, intimate moments of everyday life found on city streets.

Stamps Capture Japanese Bathhouse Charm

One Japanese artist is putting his stamp on the traditional Japanese bathhouse, or 'sento.'

The Secrets of Pearl Harvesting in Japan

Look closely through the translucent sheen of any Akoya pearl and you’ll see a rainbow of colors—a joint gift from the growers, the oysters, and the sea itself. But how are they produced?

How Japanese Pearls Are Processed

How are pearls processed? Prized Akoya pearls are sorted in front of a north-facing window, where the low-angled natural light reveals any scratches and irregularities, and practiced artisans recognize flaws as slight as a tenth of a millimeter.

Cherry Tree Made of 880,000 Lego Bricks!

This incredible cherry blossom tree is made up of more than 880,000 Lego pieces—but you can only see it until May 6!

'Manifest 99' Rattles into Japan

The award-winning 'Manifest 99,' an ominous and eerie story set on a train inhabited by a murder of crows, is about finding redemption in the afterlife—and is now available in Japan!

Japanese Manholes: Art Under Your Feet

There is so much to see in Japan. You can look up at the skyscrapers of Tokyo, look in the distance to see the peak of Mount Fuji, look along every one of Kyoto's ancient cobbled streets. But did you know that there is a lot to see right under your feet?

Sumida Textiles: Hand-Dyed in Tokyo

The Sumida Ward has long prospered as the center of Japan's fabric industry. Even today, it is capable of reproducing nearly any color on demand.

The Ultimate Wedding Cake Knife

Swords have been forged in this Gifu Prefecture town since the late Kamakura Period. Now the same traditions are being applied to some of the best knives you can hope to find.

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