Have a look and be amazed – thanks to Shōya Yoshida
You don’t know Shōya Yoshida (吉田璋也 / よしだしょうや)? The term “folk crafts” doesn’t ring any bell? Well, with question marks like that on your mind you may not be in the best of companies, but you are just admitting to gaps in education that can easily and joyfully be closed by this little posting.
In order to really understand the Folk Crafts Museum of Tottori (鳥取民芸美術館 / とっとりみんげいびじゅつかん) and its more than 5,000 exhibits which is going to be introduced here, you need to know a bit about its “founding father”, Shōya Yoshida.
Yoshida, who was born on 17th January 1898 in the city of Tottori, the capital of the prefecture (he died on 13th September 1972), was a physician. In Japan he is regarded as one of the key figures when it comes to the “Folk Crafts” movement (民芸運動 / みんげいうんどう), that was developed in the late 20s and early 30s of the 20th century by Sōetsu (Muneyoshi) Yanagi (柳宗悦 / やなぎむねよし). The aim of this movement was to make the poeple aware of the beauty of traditional articles of daily use and to appreciate them beyond the prevailling taste of the time. Yanagi’s slogan was: objects created by average people rise above the criteria of “beauty” and “uglyness”.
The basic philosophy of the folk crafts movement is not entirely without a touch of a bad after taste, as it also encompasses also some nationalistic undertones that can neither be denied nor just explained with the main stream conception of society and history of its time.
Albeit, Shōya Yoshida is – among other things – still renowned in our days for his breathtaking designs that are modern and timeless at the same time. Some potters are still cultivating them. Probably the most famous of his pottery designs is the “ushinotoyaki”-(牛ノ戸焼 / うしのとやき) that still has such a modern touch that you might think it was invented just yesterday. Yoshidas perception of beautiful dishes for daily use is still living on, e.g. in the pottery workshops of the “Inshū Nakaigama” (因州中井窯 / いんしゅうなかいがま) in Nakai Kawaramachi, Tottori. The workshop’s head, Mr. Akira Sakamoto (坂本章 / さかもとあきら) in managing the place already in the third generation. The workshop’s kiln was built in 1945 by Toshiro Sakamoto (坂本俊郎 / さかもととしひろ) and became Shōya Yoshida’s official production site in 1952.
Here are some impressions from the pottery workshop::
If the visit to the folk crafts museum has put you in the right mood for shopping, just turn next door and pay the “Takumi Craft Shop” (たくみ工芸店 / たくみこうぎてん) a visit. There you can also buy the ceramic craft works coming from Akira Sakamoto’s workshop.
Address of the Museum:
Tottori Folk Crafts Museum
651 Sakaemachi, Tottori-shi,
Opening hours of the Museum:
Daily (except on Wednesdays): 10 am to 5 pm
Closed during the New Year holidays and during the installation of new exhibitions.
Adults: 500 Yen
University students: 300 Yen (student ID necessary)
Seniors from 70 years of age and pupils: frei
Opening hours of the Takumi Craft Shop:
Daily (except on Wednesdays): 10 am to 6 pm
Closed during the New Year holidays.
Address of the pottery workshop and kiln “Inshū Nakaigama” (因州中井窯)
Further information about interesting places and venues in Tottori you can find here:
– The town of white walls and red roofs
– Stucco plasterers of the world – watch out!
Tottori Sand Museum (砂の美術館)
-Travel Around the World in Sand
Tottori: Sand Dunes (鳥取砂丘)
– The Sahara, in the middle of Japan?
Tottori: Wakasa (鳥取･若桜)
– A gem, hidden in the mountains