Kyoto Journal Issue 6
Kyoto’s Nishijin in Crisis
Building loyalty: the resurrection of Kusunoki Masashige
Space Tunnels: Rites of Passage to Places of Stillness
Nature vs Japan
Out of stock
The nation had just celebrated his 75th birthday the week before, and he had never been to McDonald’s! Billions sold to his loyal subjects throughout the land, and he had never visited one of those bright, modern establishments of yellow and red that he’d seen from the shaded windows of the limousine on his rare excursions from the palace.
—Robert Brady, The Emperor Visits MacDonalds
In Kyoto there are three areas of life which, residents say, may overwhelm outsiders if they try to explore too deeply: the world of Buddhist priests, the Gion entertainment and geisha district, and the Nishijin weaving district. The world of Nishijin, like that of the temples or teahouses, is considered to be a complex organization rooted in a long tradition, with a sense of mystery which cannot be easily unraveled by outsiders. Nishijin is the name for three interrelated entities: the district of Kyoto in which silk brocade weaving has been carried on for some five centuries; the weaving process, which is complicated, and requires the finest skills in Japan; and finally, the unique product — the broacade used for priestly garments and for obi (kimono sashes) that are worn on the highest ceremonial occasions in Japan, such as weddings, tea ceremonies, noh plays and traditional festivals. Over its long history, Nishijin cloth has become one of the cultural symbols of Japan.
— Tamara Hareven, Nishijin in Crisis
The Old Capital, by Yasunari Kawabata, trans. Martin J. Holman — Lisa Lowitz
Secret Teachings in the Art of Japanese Gardens, by David A. Slawson — Ian Perlman
Break the Mirror, by Nanao Sakaki — Ken Rodgers
Cover Image by Kawaguchi Yoichiro
published March 10, 1988