JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles is proud to present JAPAN 47 ARTISANS, an exhibition that explores the diversity of Japanese craft traditions through the eyes of contemporary designers.
Each of Japan’s 47 prefectures has its own history, ecology, and regional flavor, leading to unique craft heritage across the nation, from the lacquerware of Iwate to the woodworking of Okayama. These artisanal forms evolved over centuries to be beautiful, useful, and sustainable – qualities essential to design practice today.
This eclectic craft heritage is an inspiration to D&DEPARTMENT, a design studio founded by Kenmei Nagaoka that prizes “Long-Life Design” and focuses on presenting the design, products, customs, and identities of Japan’s 47 prefectures. Through “d47”, a hybrid museum, shop, and restaurant in Tokyo’s Shibuya district, and other initiatives across the nation, D&DEPARTMENT showcases the kaleidoscope of these prefectures, and the way contemporary designers engage with them.
For the traveling exhibition JAPAN 47 ARTISANS, D&DEPARTMENT has curated works by 47 young artisans selected from each prefecture who bring a fresh twist to the traditional crafts of their hometown. Some are continuing a long family lineage – such as Maki Morisawa, a 4th-generation paper artisan (tosa washi) from Kochi Prefecture, who learned her techniques from her grandmother. Others are trying to innovate by demystifying their practice – like Iwate Prefecture’s Jun Tashiro, who wants to make lacquerware more fun and accessible for the public. All are bringing to life their craft heritage for today and tomorrow.
Through these 47 artisans’ works, visitors will experience the rich individuality and distinct culture of 47 regions, as well as the vibrant energy of Japan’s contemporary craft scene as a whole. In today’s rapidly changing world, JAPAN 47 ARTISANS seeks to inspire us all to adopt the principles of “Long-Life Design”, creating a better life through enduring and meaningful design.
Exhibition-related programs and workshops which complement JAPAN 47 ARTISANS will be introduced on the Events page.
About D&DEPARTMENT PROJECT
Established in 2000, D&DEPARTMENT PROJECT is an activist-style organization operating stores, restaurants, and a museum rooted in the concept of Long-Life Design. There are currently 12 locations in Japan and abroad. While establishing connections within each of the 47 prefectures individually, D&DEPARTMENT research and introduce the enduring local designs and the essence of all regions of Japan through a variety of platforms, including retail sales, food and beverages, publishing, and tourism. www.d-department.com