The Mark of Beauty : Mingei (Folk Art)

NHK Educational

Point 1 : Japan's Aesthetic Tradition
The originator of the Mingei movement is Yanagi Soetsu (1889–1961). About 90 years ago, he traveled around Japan visiting people doing various kinds of handwork and published information about them in magazines and elsewhere.  He re-evaluated the value of the handwork of Japan, which had been ignored..  "Surprising beauty resides in simple vessels and other works created selflessly ... They are made to carry on tradition and not to make a name for the creator," he wrote.
Point 2 : The Folk Art Discovered by Yanagi
In the city of Seto, Aichi prefecture, which has an abundance of clay, the production of pottery has flourished for 1,000 years.
This stoneware dish (ishizara) made in the Edo period (1603–1868) for everyday use is a masterpiece.  It has animals and flowering plants painted on in a carefree manner.  The appealing "tsuba" on this dish, which was produced for durability. Clockwise from upper left are, a stoneware dish with three-layered pine in underglaze iron brown, a stoneware dish with willow in in underglaze blue and iron brown, a stoneware dish with a chrysanthemum design, a stoneware dish with the first dream of the New Year in underglaze blue and iron brown, and a stoneware dish with a monkey pattern in underglaze blue
This is a kiln that has been in operation since the middle of the Edo period (1603-1868).  Since that time, it has produced in great quantities of everyday dishes for the general populace. 
A dish that is part of daily life is something that you will never tire of, even if you use it every day
Point 3 : Mingei is regionally rooted
Onta ware collected by Yanagi Soetsu.  Yanagi visited the small mountain village where Onta ceramics are made and was deeply charmed by the artisans' techniques that had been carried on for 300 years.
The Onta district in Oita prefecture became a pottery town in 1705.  It has a population of 59. Ten different kilns stand on both sides of the 150 meter-long road, and they create ceramics using secrets handed down within their own workshops.
The mortar (karausu). Clay is softened with this old-fashioned, water-powered device  Another symbol of Onta is the common-use kiln.  The techniques of the artisans have been protected and handed down amid their communal life in this village.
Yanagi Soetsu discovered "the beauty of society" in Onta.
The Mark of Beauty : NHK Educational
Credits: Story

The Japan Folk Crafts Museum
Seto city office
Seto Hongyo
Hita City Tourism Association
Takumi Sakamoto
Chikara Kuroki

Photography by Tadayuki Minamoto

Music by yuichi FUJISAWA

Supervised by
Maezaki Shinya, Associate Professor, Kyoto Women's University
M. Rinne, Kyoto National Museum

Produced by NHK Educational Corporation


Credits: All media
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