Zakimi gusuku was a castle located in Zakimi, Yomitan-son, Okinawa Pref. It was built in the early 15th century by the renowned Ryukyu military architect Gosamaru. It was a middle-sided castle with a circumference of 365 meters and an area of 7,385 square meters. From the excavated items, the castle is thought to have been abolished in the 16th century.
During the Battle of Okinawa in the World War II, it was used as an antiaircraft artillery base by the Japanese air forces, and in the postwar period as a radar station by the U.S. forces. After the reversion of Okinawa to Japan, the preservation effort as a historic site was made. Up to the present the walls have been restored. The walls are said to be the oldest stone walls in Okinawa. The arched gate and its both sides are piled in orderly “Nuno-zumi” style (cloth piling), while the rest are piled up in “Aikata-zumi” style or Turtleback curvilinear shapes, which is typical to Okinawa.
Zakimi gusuku was designated as a National Historic Site in 1972, and was named a World Heritage Site, along with other Okinawa’s castles, in 2000.
Hida Shunkei lacquer ware is a traditional handicraft in the cities of Takayama and Hida in Gifu Prefecture. The origin of this craft dates back to 1606. A head carpenter, who were engaged in building temples and shrines in the castle town of Takayama, happened to discover beautiful straight grains, when he chopped a piece of sawara cypress wood apart. He made it into a tray and lacquered the surface. Because the coloring of this tray resembled “Hishunkei,” a famous tea ceremony tea jar made by master potter, Kato Kagemasa, the name Shunkei was given to this lacquer ware.
What makes Hida Shunkei lacquer ware so special is the way that the beauty of the surface of the wood is brought out by the application of a transparent coating of lacquer. It is also characterized by its delicate technique of hegime (grooves that are carved out between the wood grains). When exposed to the light, the grains with hegime grooves glow gold through the transparent lacquer. The more it is used, the more gloss it takes on. Hida Shunkei is extremely appealing and robust form of lacquer ware.
Ishiyamadera Temple in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture, is the Bakkaku-Honzan (extra-status cathedral) of the Toji Shingon sect. The principal object of worship is Nyoirin Kannon. It is the 31st Holy Place of Saigoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage, the 1st of Goshu 33 Kannon Pilgrimage and the 3rd of Omi Kannon Pilgrimage.
The temple was founded in 747 by the priest Roben under the order of Emperor Shomu. Together with Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto and Hasedera Temple in Nara, it is one of the few magnificent temples in Japan.
Tahoto pagoda at this temple was constructed in 1194. It is the oldest of all the Tahoto pagodas whose construction years are identified. It is a 17.2 m tall pagoda with a Japanese cypress-bark roof. Surrounded by the railings with Giboshi (onion-shaped metal decorations), it has the wooden paneled doors in the center, on both sides of which are lath windows. The struts placed in the spaces between pillars are simple short posts.
The beautiful curved roof line and well-balance and stable building design are in good harmony. As a masterpiece of the ancient architecture in Japan, it is designated as a National treasure.
The pagoda houses the statue of Dainichi Nyorai carved by Kaikei, the master Buddhist sculptor in the Kamakura period.
Ozato Pine Groves is the arch-shaped seashore with 50,000 green pine trees and white sand spanning about 4 km in Kainan Town, Tokushima Prefecture.
The pine trees were planted not only for tourism but they protect the land from salty wind and storm surge from adjacent towns. The pine trees were first planted along this coast in the middle of the Edo period (1603-1868). Though generation change has occurred, the groves are conserved by the efforts of local people, exterminating harmful insects three times and mowing grass twice every year.
If you stand on the beach, blown in the sea breeze and devoting yourself to the sounds of waves, you will feel totally refreshed. The beach is famous as a fishing spot and the waves near the estuary of the Kaifu River are suitable for surfing. Sea turtles come to lay their eggs on the full moon night in early summer, when the beach is alive with tourists.
Born 1959 in Yamagata City, Yamagata Pref., Japan. Mr Okuyama worked for auto manufacturers in various strategic roles including as chief designers for GM (USA) and Porsche (Germany), then as creative director at Pininfarina S.p.A.(Italia), later he became independent. He is well known worldwide as a designer for Maserati Quatrroporte, Enzo Ferrari and Ferrari Scaglietti. He also worked on industrial design projects in a wide range of fields including public transportation with trains and planes, furniture, product design, interior design, spatial design and urban planning. He created and marketed the “KEN OKUYAMA” brand for eyewear. In 2006, he established the “Yamagata Koubou” furniture brand. He is currently an honorary professor for the Industrial Design program at the Art Center College of Design (USA) and at the Kanazawa College of Art (Japan). He is also vice chair of the jury for the Good Design Award and runs the Yamagata Carrozzeria Project. He lives in Italy.
Bunaco is a technique where rolls of thinly sliced wood from a Japanese beech (‘buna’) are coiled, and then pushed by hand little by little to create solid geometric shapes. The buna tree, which made up much of the original forests of Japan, was used to create boxes for exporting apples before the development of the ‘bunaco technique’. However, as the bunaco technique developed, the buna began to be used in many other ways, such as for dishes and lighting instruments. The lamp above is actually two bunaco lights shaped like trumpets, attached together by a roll of buna tape. This lighting instrument is completely symmetrical at the point where the red beam of light is seen. What is unique about this bunaco lamp is the red light that delicately shines out from the middle part. This is because the central part of this lamp has fewer layers, making it thinner than the other portions of the lamp, and thus allowing the light to break through. The lamp was designed for a club called Lounge O. Perfect for interiors with dim lighting, this lamp releases magical and enchanting beams of light that give a room a unique feel. There are holes on the top and bottom of this lamp to release heat, and the bunaco can be detached from the metal base when changing the light bulb.
Size W×D×H (mm)400×400×1800
Produced by: Ubushina,Yudai Tachikawa
This is a cabinet with doors made of flat bamboo material.
Most bamboo crafts have a softly curved shape that takes advantage of its elasticity. It is rare to use flat bamboo material for furniture like this. The way the bamboo is woven is called hemp-leaf weaving: three thin bamboos are run through a hexagonal bamboo shape that looks like a hemp leaf.
The cabinet is finished with coloring from carbonization; that is, the bamboo is turned to a dark brown shade after exposure to high-temperature and pressure steam.
The cabinet is finished with urushi (Japanese lacquer) that is layered on cloth pasted to the body. The colors of urushi and the carbonized bamboo create an impression of long-cherished antique furniture.
■ Cabinet (for private use)
・ hemp-leaf weaving, carbonization-coloring
・designed by ＭＬＩＮＡＲＩＣ ＨＥＮＲＹ ＆ ＺＥＲＶＵＤＡＣＨＩ ＬＴＤ
■produced by Ubushina, Yudai Tachikawa
Seiroku Nakamura is a craftsman in Imari-Arita ware, a traditional handicraft in Saga Pref. He was born in Hasami-cho, Nagasaki Pref. in 1916. He was designated as a Traditional Craftsman in 1979 and an Important Intangible Cultural Property by Saga Pref. in 1990.
The origin of Imari-Arita ware dates back to the end of the Warring States period (the beginning of the 17th C), when a Korean potter, Li Sanpei discovered fine porcelain stone in Arita. It is characterized by the gorgeous blue patterns drawn on the pure white surface. The porcelain used to be called differently as Imari ware and Arita ware, but being made in the same processes, they are commonly called Imari-Arita ware today.
Mr. Nakamura turns a large wheel with excellent skills and creates his own delustered porcelain. The beautifully curving lines and clam white color give the impression of delicate warmth. He always looks forward and munificently hands down his creative mind, which he himself learned from his teacher, to the younger generation. His graceful attitude is fully reflected in his works.