"I don’t believe cities are created by great urban designers,” Hara says. “Cities are made by the desires of people."
— An interview with Kenya Hara — design theorist, art-director of Muji and director at Nippon Design Center — for The Japan Times.
"But often there are no Tokyo headquarters. There is no well branded, well managed, well funded stockist that we can turn to and say “what happened?” Often there is only a craftsmen selling his work to local people. Local old people. Perhaps if he was lucky enough to be written up in a magazine, or lucky enough to have a small museum made for him he might get wider attention. Typically this craftsman will not have the understanding (or the energy) to spread his work digitally. So, It is extremely hard to say what has been lost culturally. Of course we will eventually find out about the designated cultural treasures which are affected, but I worry about the vast expanses of non-designated craftsmen; their light shining too dimly, their impact too minor to be granted a special designation other than “Shoukunin.” I want to travel up there and search them all out. I want to find them alive and have them tell their stories, or if they have passed on then their loved ones must be found and they will tell their story for them. At first I felt craft was something for the elderly, a piece of history which didn’t know it’s old age and sometimes pretended to be cool and youthful. In New Zealand craft to me was something for old spinsters and mothers, for children to do at school. Living in Japan that view began to crumble. Craft here was lived. Craft was work and it was art at the same time. Craft in Japan might be relegated to the dusty corners of worldwide culture when it is pared with words like “tradition,” but it is not dead! It is lived. Craft is lived by men and woman. I feel that I can’t write that sentence enough. They do a noble kind of work which I worry I will never be able to experience for myself."
— The earthquake and the confusing days afterwards |