20 Mesmerizing Videos of Japanese Artisans Creating Traditional Handicrafts

In Japan­ese “tewaza” means “hand tech­nique” or “hand­craft” and, in this YouTube playlist of 20 short films, var­i­ous arti­sanal tech­niques are explored and demon­strat­ed by Japan­ese mas­ters in the field. For those who are both obsessed with Japan­ese art and watch­ing things get made, these videos are cat­nip. There’s very lit­tle spo­ken, except a few quotes from the mak­ers them­selves, and gen­tle music plays over shots of del­i­cate, intri­cate, and con­fi­dent hand­i­work.

Watch the video up top, a look at how a small group of men forge a Sakai knife. (Yes, we keep expect­ing the music to turn into the Lau­ra Palmer’s Theme too.) No words are nec­es­sary in this exact­ing demon­stra­tion, and just check out the wood-like grain in the met­al.

And the names of these goods denote the towns of origin–Sakai is just out­side Osa­ka, and is one of Japan’s main sea­ports and, yes, known for its knives.

Oth­er videos show the mak­ing of hand­made washi paper from Mino; stun­ning gold leaf pro­duc­tion from Kanaza­wa; paper lantern making from Gifu; dec­o­rat­ed wall­pa­per from Ueno; a Kumano writ­ing brush, and very del­i­cate bam­boo weav­ing from Bep­pu that looks so pre­cise it’s like it’s made by machine, but no, this is all in the eye.

The YouTube chan­nel that has pro­duced these videos, Aoya­ma Square, is a lit­er­al one-stop shop in Tokyo for all the kind of crafts seen in the videos, and is a mem­ber of the Japan­ese nation­al asso­ci­a­tion that pro­motes and keeps these skills and mini-indus­tries alive. So is this one long ad for a large crafts empo­ri­um? Well, could be. Do we still want to buy some of that beau­ti­ful lac­quer­ware from Echizen? Oh yes, very much so.

via Metafil­ter

Relat­ed Con­tent:

1850s Japan Comes to Life in 3D, Col­or Pho­tos: See the Stereo­scop­ic Pho­tog­ra­phy of T. Ena­mi

The Entire His­to­ry of Japan in 9 Quirky Min­utes

Wabi-Sabi: A Short Film on the Beau­ty of Tra­di­tion­al Japan

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the FunkZone Pod­cast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

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