Made in Japan

Japan is a country synonymous with craft, where the pursuit of perfection is a common and well-practiced trait, whether in modern technologies like automobiles and electronics or in more historical practices like lacquer ware and ceramics. For this reason it made sense for us to visit the Land of the Rising Sun in search of some of the best examples of Japanese craft from both the old and new schools. The products certainly live up to their reputation with designs and quality that compete strongly with their global counterparts.

So why look at Japan now? We like it from two angles - the minimal and elegant Japanese aesthetic is relevant to the modern man's lifestyle. Unlike his female counterpart, he is more likely to look for unadorned and functional yet still beautiful and unique accessories. In addition, as Smithsonian Magazine recently pointed out (although it was never any secret), Japan has an excellent tradition of taking foreign products and concepts and refining them until they are better than the original. We hope you enjoy!

 
Ceramics Nambu Tekki Ironware Echizen Urushi Lacquerware

 

BRAVE GUIDE TO JAPANESE AESTHETICS

These principles are more than a formal framework - they are an ingrained part of everyday life that affects the Japanese outlook and how they view the world around them.

 

Wabi (侘)
Transient and stark beauty

 

Sabi (寂)
Beauty of natural patina and ageing

 

Yugen (幽玄)
Profound grace and subtlety

 

Miyabi (雅)
Elegance and refinement

 

Shibui (渋い)
Simple, subtle, unobtrusive beauty

 

Iki (いき)
Chic and stylish everyday aesthetic

 

Jo ha kyu (序破急)
Modulation and movement

 

Adapted from wikipedia.org

 

FURTHER READINGS

You may want to check out:

Kenya Hara, White (2009)
Hara, Design Communications Director at Muji, explores the essence of emptiness and the absolute void, which symbolise simplicity and subtlety and are central to the origin of Japanese aesthetics.
Kenya Hara, Designing Design (2007)
Hara explores his influences and mentors, using long overlooked Japanese icons while emphasising the importance of emptiness in both the visual and philosophical traditions of Japan.
In Praise of Shadow, Junichiro Tanizaki (1977)
An essay on aesthetics by Japanese novelist Tanizaki, the book explores architecture, jade, food and even toilets, combining an acute sense of the use of space in buildings.