Saeno Shrine in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture, is a historic shrine. According to the shrine record, it was founded by Yamato Takeru, a legendary prince of the Yamato Dynasty, who was ordered by his father Emperor Keiko to set out for the eastern land to put down the barbarians in 110. Sarutahiko, known as Dosojin (the guardian deity for a community and the god of road), accompanied him at this time as the guide, he enshrined Dosojin at this shrine; hereby it used to be called Kasama Dosojin Shrine.
The other enshrined deity, Ameno Uzume no Kami, is the deity of marriage, namely the deity who leads our family life. Hence the shrine is famous for housing the god who leads our way of life.
At the annual festival held on April 20 every year, Dosojin Kagura, which is a kagura dance in Izumo style and a prefecturally designated intangible cultural property, is dedicated to the deities.
As the shrine was faithfully revered by the successive lords of the domain including Date Masamune since Honden (the main hall) was constructed in 1522, the shrine possesses several cultural properties such as the votive plaque with Masamune’s writing and several old swords.
Kyoto Kakefuda, founded in 1925, is a long-established dyehouse in Shijyo Horikawa, Kyoto. Since its beginning, the store has been known as a custom order specialty store making the silk “furoshiki” wrapping cloth and the “fukusa” wrapping cloth which traditionally has a family crest and is passed from one generation to the next.
Hidetaka Kakefuda, upon succeeding as head of the family business, undertook the design and production of the cotton furoshiki used as a complementary gift for the name-taking ceremony of Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII, a famous kabuki actor. He was so impressed with the practicality and usefulness of the cotton furoshiki that the following year, he announced his newly designed line of cotton furoshiki with traditional Japanese patterns which is designed off the shelf for more casual use. Aligned with his new line, the store changed its name to Kyoto Kakefuda and created a special logo for the cotton furoshiki, whose design took inspiration from his family crest.
Now that most design and manufacturing is split between different companies, a specialty store that undertakes the whole process of design, pattern making, dyeing, cutting, finishing and retailing under one brand has become rare and treasured. Despite the store's long established history, Kakefuda is also flexible and open to new ideas, and is pioneering a new direction away from the other established stores reluctant to change.
Hidetaka kakefuda is the third line of the Kyoto Kakefuda, a dye house which specializes in made to order “Furoshiki”, wrapping cloth. Mr. Kakefuda was born in 1977 in Kyoto. He entered Kyoto City University of Arts in 1996, majoring initially in Sculpture, later changing to Conceptual and Media Art. He started helping the family business while still a university student. After seeing the family crest book handed down in his family, he took a strong interest in traditional patterns and succeeded to the family business upon his graduation.
In 2004, Mr. Kakefuda undertook the design and production of the cotton furoshiki to be used as a complementary gift for the name-taking ceremony of Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII. With this as a beginning, the following year he announced his new line of cotton furoshiki with Japanese traditional patterns such as Karakusa and Kamekou. “I wanted create furoshiki that everybody can use casually as a start”, Mr. Kakufuda says in a relaxed tone. Since 2005, he continues to produce new types of furoshiki based on Japanese traditional patterns, a style sometimes referred to as “Japanese Modern”.
Enkatsura is a gigantic Japanese Judas tree standing in a state forest in Otobe-cho, Hokkaido. The tree is more than 500 years old and towers to a height of over 40m with a trunk circumference of 610cm. It’s a majestic and imposing tree.
Enkatsura actually comprises two Judas trees standing next to each other, connected by a branch 7m above the ground, and over time it became known as “the tree where a matchmaking god resides” and it has become a popular symbol of love. The tree is well protected by the locals and celebrated by a festival called “Enkatsura Festival” every September 23rd.
A fine shrine was build in front of the tree and a wooden bridge over the stream in front of the shrine was restored. A bell hangs where people pass the bridge and recently it became a place for people who wish to wed in front of the tree.
Enkatsura was selected as one of “the One Hundreds Giants in woods” in 2000.
Icho-gaeshi was a hairstyle worn by Japanese women in the Edo period (1603-1868). The root of a pony tail is divided into two parts, each of which forms a sidewise 8 shape. The tips of the tail are wound around the root and fastened with a hairpin. As the fan shaped knot resembles the gingko leaf, it was called Icho-gaeshi (literally meaning “a turned-up gingko leaf”).
It was originally worn by young girls aged 12 to 20. Later as geisha and gidayu musicians began to wear their hair in this style, daughters of townspeople, who favored stylish fashion, began to follow their styles. In the Meiji period (1868-1912), it became popular among middle aged women, widows, geisha and entertainers. As it was easy to do up in this style and one did not have to go to a hairdressers’ shop, Icho-gaeshi was the most popular hairstyle up to the early Showa period (1926-1989).
Born 1965 in Nagasaki pref. President of t.c.k.w inc.
Yudai Tachikawa is a design director who supports the overall design
strategy for many companies as an outside creative consultant. With a base
of product planning and development relating to the field of interiors such
as furniture, lighting and household electrics, he handles the overall
process necessary for design to find its way to the consumer, including
designer selection, marketing research, promotion and publicity.
Through his own company he started a ground-breaking project called
“ubushina” which fuses Japanese traditional handicrafts such as lacquer
ware and bamboo craft with the flair of modern design, producing novel and
original products. He also runs “MD salon”, a member’s trade fair site,
in which buyers can view products primarily submitted by its own designers.
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.
Masako Ban is an internationally successful accessory designer. After working at Ban Shigeru Architects she turned her skills to becoming a graphic designer. In 2001, while in London, self taught she started working with accessory design. Upon returning to Japan, she founded her own company, “acrylic”. In 2005, her first collection was selected for the MOMA Design Store in New York, and in November of the same year, she opened her own store also called acrylic in Tokyo. Her work is characterized by simplicity in design, with the materials and finish also playing a very important part in the final product. As can be seen from the cutting technique used with the acrylic and sponge, she shows appreciation and respect for Japanese craft techniques and prefers to manufacture in Japan. In the future she plans to focus on expanding various collaboration series with Japanese traditional craft artists.