Japanese Arts, Crafts and their Makers

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

This month is Asian Pacific Heritage Month and to celebrate it we are looking at Japan all month long for Multicultural Mondays. Last week we started with two picture books including one on the creation myth in Japan. Today we are going to look at the crafts and craftsmen/women of Japan as well as a round-up of Japanese-inspired crafts and artists. To begin this post I am sharing a new book that is being released tomorrow (May 12, 2020). It is Craftland Japan by Uwe Röttgen and Katharina Zetti.

Let's begin this by saying this book is not written for children. However it is full of photographs and information that a child could look at and learn from. This book is about different specific craftspeople in Japan. It explains about their craft and workshop as well as about the craftspeople. There are photos of their work, them working and the people as well as two pages of information in very tiny print (my eyes are getting old and I need reading glasses even to really read it). 

It shares information about 25 specific craft studios and the main craftsman/woman in that studio. It covers people who make household items like knives and pots to cabinetmakers and woodworkers as well as fabric dyers and weavers. Basically many household crafts or necessities for the household are included. It even has papermakers and calligraphers. 

Each artist starts with a few photographs, the artists name and a little haiku about the craft. I am going to share the pages on Masami Mizuno a man who is a coppersmith, so you can see how each is presented.  
As you can see the studio, the craft, the beautiful products and the artist are shared in the first set of pages. Next comes more photographs as well as information about the craft and studio.

I love how there are Japanese words on the side of the pages as well. After the information about the artist and his life and work. It is all so interesting to read and learn how these household products are made.

After all this information there are more pages of photos of the products the artist makes. The photos are beautiful for each of the artists too!

To share this book with a child or children there are many things that can be done. Then of course activities and projects can be done to relate to each craft. The bladesmith could be a project on creating a cutting material; the iron caster could be an iron pour or some sort of pouring into molds; the coppersmith and metalsmith could be tin work like this activity;  toolsmith could be a STEM activity with a variety of materials (tin foil, rocks, shells, sticks, etc.) to have kids come up with tool designs; lacquerware artist could be a watercolor resist painting, papermaker could be of course one of the many papermaking activities (here is one or this one); bamboo basketry maker could be a weaving project with things besides just yarn like this one or I have seen straw weaving projects as well; bamboo artist could be string art or string models; for indigo dyer natural dying is the perfect activity; for the woodworking (cabinet maker, latticeworker, wood cooper, wood turner, marquetry) build with sticks, wooden dowels, blocks, or maybe do a paper marquetry project; for ceramicist of course is claywork with or without a pottery wheel; embroidery maker of course any embroidery project; yarn-dyed weaver of course is a weaving project, and calligraphers is learning a bit of calligraphy including Kanji. This book would lend to learning about the culture as well as a bit of history of how things were once made in many different cultures. 

To see even more from this book be sure to check out its website. To go with this book I thought we would look at a round-up of Japanese-inspired crafts and Japanese artists. I asked some fellow bloggers for what they have and here is a mixture of theirs and ours. I broke them into some different categories but will start with general crafts.

Japanese-Inspired Craft Round-Up

1) Japanese Fans
2) Japanese Fan with book
3) Japanese Book Covers from Castle View Academy
4) Japanese paper crafts (with Japanese designed wrapping paper)
5) Cherry Blossom Craft with books from Wise Owl Factory
6) Japanese Octopus Kite
7) Samurai Hat
8) Japanese Paper Flowers

Japanese-Inspired Fiber Crafts

1) Doll Kimono 
2) Japanese Patchwork Quiltblocks
3) Japanese Tie Dye Shibori Napkins from Organized 31
4) Japanese knitting fingerless gloves

Japanese Doll Crafts

1) Japanese Scoubidou Doll from Red Ted Art
2) Suki's Kimono Origami Doll from Castle View Academy
3) Origami Dolls from Pink Stripey Socks
4) Kokeshi Doll Craft
5) Daruma Doll Craft

Japanese Art & Artists

1) Yayoi Kusama
2) Artwork and coloring pages from In a Japanese Garden
3) Hokusai Prints Note Cards
4) Japanese Prints & coloring pages from Floating World

Next week we will take a look at the Japanese art of origami and do an origami round-up. I hope you will join us!