Carpenter to the Gods: An interview with traditional carpenter Kawai Takami

February 26, 2019

“…when your efforts are such a tiny part of a project spanning thousands of years, you learn to appreciate the importance of small steps. If you imagine that your efforts are connecting to something eternal, speed seems relative.”

Read More


February 2, 2019

Their faces twisted in a permanent grimace. With scimitar­ like tusks and beady eyes that darted from face to face, the Oni advanced slowly into the crowd. Two bony horns protruded from their manes of coarse, filthy hair, and each had a different shade of scaly skin – one red, one yellow, and the last blue…

Read More

KYOTO EXPERIMENT: In Conversation with Yusuke Hashimoto

December 12, 2018

“Before, the younger artists based here in the Kansai region who wanted to grow internationally had to always to go Tokyo in the beginning to be acquainted with the right critics or journalists living there who could help launch their careers. But I wanted to create an international platform so that these artists could easily make the connections here”

Read More

Welded from Nature: The Botanical Creations of Shota Suzuki

December 9, 2018

“In my work, I try to pursue the balance between the beautiful energy and sensual intimacy that I feel from both nature and metals. I can’t explain my love of plant motifs, I just never grow tired of them…”

Read More

Julie Gramlich: Researching female entrepreneurship in Japan

November 6, 2018

Julie Gramlich worked for a female founder in the Silicon Valley before receiving the Japanese Education Ministry’s MEXT scholarship to study the entrepreneurial environment for women in Japan. As part of this research, Julie has interviewed over 20 Japanese women in a range of fields.

Read More

Setsubun Girl

October 18, 2018

An oni with a magical hammer comes to tempt her, dressed as a mortal man. He strikes his hammer once, and magnificent kimono appear from thin air, which she accepts with protest and delight.

Read More

Kyoto in the Mid-sixties

October 14, 2018

Waiting in the snow at the Ryoan-ji bus stop on a Kyoto winter morning in 1964, I was interrupted by a woman who came out of a nearby house and, seeing me standing there, went back inside and returned with an overcoat which she helped me into. It was a three-quarter-length brown coat, and warm…That was my introduction to Kyoto.

Read More

Honyarado: Losing Kyoto’s Counter-Culture Hub

September 7, 2018

Opening in 1972, Honyarado became a hub and stronghold of anti-war activities and a symbol of youth counterculture. We campaigned for the release of political prisoners in South Vietnam and South Korea, and supported court cases against obscenity charges.

Read More

The Glass Room

September 3, 2018

One enormous bowl, by contemporary American glass artist Dalie Chihuly, glows from a showcase beneath a transparent floor of glass. Frothy green tea is served to visitors in 19th century glass bowls from Italy. The keeper of the glass room is the shrine’s former head priest, 76 year-old Torii Hiroyoshi.

Read More
Mio Heki kintsugi repairing ceramic cup in studio Kyoto Japan close-up

Mio Heki: Kintsugi Artist and Urushi Master

August 28, 2018

“I see urushi as a way to connect ourselves and our culture with nature in so many ways. Because urushi and kintsugi art is all natural, it is a good way to remind ourselves that we are all part of nature, being pieces of our universe.”

Read More
Matsumoto Sachiko: Bringing Japanese Crafts to the World

Matsumoto Sachiko: Bringing Japanese Crafts to the World

August 24, 2018

Matsuyama Sachiko is the founder of monomo, a business linking Japanese craftspeople with an international audience and encouraging cultural inspiration.

Read More
Totousha teahouse Kyoto

A House Living with Tea

August 22, 2018

“Inspired by tea, the housemates show us that it is possible to live creatively and mindfully in this modern day world. It seems fitting that such a place exists in Kyoto, a city that epitomizes the juxtaposition of old and new.”

Read More
Small Buildings of Kyoto

Small Buildings of Kyoto

August 20, 2018

Small Buildings of Kyoto features 100 images of the quaint homes, businesses, workshops, as well as the occasional neighbourhood shrine and teahouse, that make up the fabric of Japan’s ancient capital.

Read More
Ukishima Menu

Naoko Nakasone: Rejuvenating Spirit Food in Okinawa

August 19, 2018

“When people grew millet and grains, they didn’t need to scramble for food. Scrambling causes conflict, but in the absence of scrambling there was peace. For this reason, people really appreciated millet and served it to the gods as an expression of gratitude. “

Read More
The English-speaking maiko Tomitsuyu of Tomikiku Teahouse, Gion Higashi

Living Kagai Culture: Field Notes from Kyoto’s “Flower Towns” 

August 17, 2018

The characters for kagai, Kyoto’s geiko districts, are often translated as ‘flower town’. Early in my research I began exploring this metaphor of a garden for the kagai’s cultural ecosystem. I soon discovered that, as in gardens, there are many layers, perspectives and influences.

Read More

Stepping into Metamorphosis: The Shoes of Masaya Kushino

August 16, 2018

“My work is not just about the technical details of making a shoe, but an exploration of a fantasy, a story or something historical.”

Read More
Chiemi Ogura bamboo craftswoman Kyoto photo by Irwin Wong

Chiemi Ogura: Bamboo Craftswoman

August 8, 2018

Chiemi weaves her intricate bamboo jewellery from her inner-west Kyoto home studio. Everything step is done by her and by hand, from cutting strips from raw, Kyoto-sourced stalks, to the final dying that washes the pieces in unique wine, turquoise, and emerald shades.

Read More

Interview with Mitsuru Yokoyama, Tatami Artisan

July 18, 2018

“What I make, and all Japanese craftsman make ages with you. This is an investment in yourself, your life.”

Read More
Ono Tadashi Coastal Motifs

KYOTOGRAPHIE Breaks New Ground

May 6, 2018

Kyotographie seems to be not merely bringing people to hidden or at least underutilized parts of Kyoto, but taking an active role in developing and revitalizing areas that are in dire need of a pick-me-up.

Read More

1970s Kyoto

April 17, 2018

My roommate moonlights as a desk clerk at a guest house for foreigners and cuts most of his classes so he is seldom home. Most of the other boarders spend evenings in each other’s rooms screaming and jostling each other amid the familiar click and clatter of mahjong pieces being scrambled across a kotatsu table. This is there last fling at wasting time before the responsibilities of company employment and family beckon after graduation.

Read More

Kurahashi Yoshio: Shakuhachi Master

November 1, 2017

As with other arts, shakuhachi’s “traditional” characteristics are constantly evolving. Hesitating to call himself traditional, sensei’s eyes light up when discussing how the music is changing.

Read More

Before you go, be sure to check out our latest issue:

KJ 98: Ma