Japanese Crafts -- Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Disclosure: We were sent these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are our own.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. This year I thought I would focus on Japanese crafts. I have written a few posts about Japan and Japanese culture over the years. If you want a general overview of the country and its culture you should check out my review here. When I looked at my shelf of books to review I saw a bit of a pattern and realized I had a collection of books about crafts in Japan. Part of what I love about these books is most of them also teach a bit about the culture.

Our first book is a quilt book. It is Shizuko Kuroha's Japanese Patchwork Quilting Patterns.  I was interested to see how Japanese quilting differs from American. I was surprised to see many of the patchwork squares to be the same as American squares. However some of the projects look different because of the fabrics used. You can see more of them on this photo of the back cover. 
Many of the projects intrigue me. However I have not had time to actually try one. Life has been a bit crazy here. With some of the blocks the introduction shares a bit about the Japanese culture and the history of the block there. The projects vary from quilts to useful items like this backpack. 

I love how on trend the projects are. Backpack purses are very in right now. People love having their hands free for other things. I also love the different ways the patchwork is used. The pattern templates are on a large sheet of paper in a pocket in the back. The sheet is double sided, so templates need to be copied/traced. But since this is a quilt book that is traditionally how it is done.

Our next item is an origami kit. It is Super Cute Origami Kit by Yuki Martin and illustrated by Emily Watanabe. This kit comes with an instruction book, paper, stickers, rhinestones, pearls, sequins, and washi tape. 

The projects in this book vary from various countries and cultures. There is one for a Christmas tree and masquerade masks. I focused on the Japanese ones. I love how the book provides a little bit about the culture it comes from. The first project I tried is the Hina doll. Hina dolls are traditional Japanese dolls used for the Hina Matsuri or doll festival. 

Another project I tried is the Daruma Doll. I learned about Daruma dolls several years ago.

The final project I made from the kit is Maneki Neko or the "Good Luck" cat. These cats are popular all over Asia, but often they are holding a Japanese coin. I used a sticker to help make the Japanese coin.
I love this kit. It has some cute ideas and all the fun decorations. I love how it teaches about different cultures and I found the instructions easy to follow. 

While talking about origami I am going to share Tomoko Fuse's Origami Boxes. This book is a bit more difficult for origami. Tomoko Fuse is one of Japan's leading origami masters and has been writing origami books for over 35 years. However the projects are beautiful and very different. The book is divided into three parts. The first part is simple boxes using square paper, the second part is modular boxes using square papers, and the third part is modular boxes using rectangular papers. 

There are basic guidelines to origami folds and then the projects begin. The instructions are a bit more difficult than some origami instructions. There are less words than other origami books. 

I love the creative boxes in the book though. Even the simple ones have interesting looks, don't they? I have made the first one in the past. 

I would not try this book as a beginner, but it has fun projects and different variations on most of them. For more origami projects check out these here.

Our next book is Japanese Paper Flowers by Hiromi Yamazaki. This book shares ways to make various flowers. The suggested paper is origami paper. This book takes the various paper flowers and combines them into different projects. 

The flowers are absolutely beautiful. The templates vary in size and I can see some not wanting to trace and cut the various shapes, however with patience they look amazing.

In some of these projects it is hard to tell they are made from paper. I love how colorful they are as well.

When I have time to breathe I want to try some of these. They are absolutely beautiful! Be sure to check out the Chinese paper flower book we reviewed previously.

Our final book is Asian Kites for Kids by Wayne Hosking. This book shares a bit of history about kites throughout Asia. I love how it shares about kites in each of the countries it covers and then shares how to make different kites from that country. As you can see in the contents, there are many kites from Japan. I should note that I shared an older version of this book previously and made small paper versions of some of the kites. 
It is interesting to see how the kites look and are decorated. Kites are a big part of the culture in Japan. They celebrate with kites on O-Shogatsu (New Year's Day) and Kodomo-no-hi (Children's Day, which is May 5). 

I love how the description of each kite includes a piece of the culture from beetle pets and where they are made in the country. 

Explore Japan with these fun crafts and learn more about the culture. I hope you will check them out!

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Hop 2019 | Multicultural Kid Blogs 

 Welcome to our sixth annual Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Hop! Below you can explore ideas about sharing with kids the rich cultures of this vast and varied region. For even more ideas, visit our blog hops from last year, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014. You can also follow our Asia and Australia & Oceania boards on Pinterest.
Participating Blogs