NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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オオタスセリ Oota Suseri Suseri Oota

Jp En

Suseri Oota is an entertainer born in the Kanagawa Prefecture. Her stage name, also Suseri Oota, is written only in katakana characters, instead of the kanji characters of  her real name. The name, Suseri, came from Princess Suseri, a legendary figure who appeared in the book Kojiki (680 A.D.). The Suseri of legend was known to have been driven to pursue whatever she wanted.
Suseri Oota left university before completing her course to become an actor and she began to study acting at Gekidan En Kenkyuujo. After finishing her studies there, she formed a comic duo. When her partner got married and left the duo, she became a solo performer, often accompanying herself on guitar. She loved to perform on stage but she is also highly regarded as a film and TV actor, scenario writer and essayist. Her most successful book is Dekai Onna (Large Woman).
Suseri is 176cm tall and her shoe size is 26cm.  This stands out from other Japanese women whose average height is 159cm. Her stature adds uniqueness to her image and it gives her a sharp eye for details in everyday life which many people overlook. She strives to free herself and others from social and aesthetic stereotypes.
Suseri Oota is a performer and an artist who is a person of action and who is not afraid to reveal herself to the public.  She is a modern version of the Princess Suseri written about in ancient times.  Her uniqueness and courage have set the course for great success in the future.
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川崎和男 Kawasaki Kazuo Kawasaki Kazuo

Jp En

Kazuo Kawasaki was born in 1949, Fukui Prefecture. He is a design director and doctor of medical science. After graduating from Kanazawa College of Arts, he started working at Toshiba where he worked on developing and branding Audio Aurex, a revolutionary new audio system at that time. In 1979, he went freelance and two years later he moved his business base to his home town, Fukui. Since then, he has worked on a wide range of product designs including knives, LCD TVs, eyeglasses and artificial hearts. He has made significant advances in all of these fields.
He was the jury chair for the Japan Good Design Award from 2001 to 2003. He is currently a professor at Communication Design Center and Frontier Research Center at Graduate School of Engineering Osaka University. He is also a professor of Medical Center for Translational Research at Osaka University Hospital.
   Mr. Kazuo believes that the designer is a professional that imbues idealism into a physical object. He incorporates many varied fields including mathematics, science, technology and art and builds reality hardheadedly and precisely.
Design is a dream. Here is at least one design director in Japan who earnestly believes that the power of design can change the world.
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ラルフ・キゲル Ralph Kiggell Ralph Kiggell

Jp En

Ralph Kiggell is a British artist who was born in Zambia in 1960. He is a woodblock printer, whose work is strongly influenced by East Asia.

Since he was a child, he had always been interested in Japanese woodblock prints. Works by masters such as HOkusai and Utamaro could be seen periodically in special exhibitions at the British Museum in London.

In 1990, Ralph Kiggell came to Japan to study woodblock printing. He first studied at the Yoshida Hanga Academy in Tokyo under Tsukasa Yoshida, the son of Toshi Yoshida, and the grandson of Hiroshi Yoshida. Later, he learned contemporary woodblock printing techniques at Kyoto Seika University and at Tokyo’s Tama Art University.

Kiggell enjoys the sensitivity of Japanese woodblock printing, because the whole process is carried out by hand using hand-made and natural materials. There is an organic connection from hand to wood to paper. Kiggell thinks that in the digital age that we live in, woodblock printing has particular resonance as an important medium for contemporary artistic expression.
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人工心臓 Jinkou-shinzou Artificial Heart

Jp En

“If I have to accept an artificial heart into my body, I would like it to be painless and look cool”, said the designer, Kazuo Kawasaki, who sought functional progress and an aesthetic sense for an artificial heart even it resides inside the body and is invisible from the outside.  
It was the technology of the stereolithography system that made his vision become real. Stereolithography allows for the creation of three-dimensional (3-D) objects, in this case using resin, from CAD data.  Even complicated shapes like those that can be seen in Trompe-l'œil, or trick art, can be turned accurately into a real object.
Fusion is one of key words to describe the tendency of recent high-end technology developments. By fusing ideas and technologies from different fields, it becomes possible to break though the walls of limitation. Artificial hearts are seen as a new technology, an alternative to heart transplants, and their development is being advanced from areas beyond the medical field in a way that has not seen before. It is an exciting development that attracts lots of anticipation for the future.      

■Design Director / M.D.
Kazuo Kawasaki
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井山宝福寺 Iyama-houfuku-ji Iyama Hofuku-ji Temple

Jp En

Iyama Hofuku-ji is a temple of the Rinzai Zen Buddhist sect, and is located in Soja, Okayama Prefecture.

The Sangharama monument here is said to be very rarely seen in this area. Within the temple precincts is the second oldest three-tiered pagoda in the prefecture and it is designated as an important cultural asset.

Iyama Hofuku-ji is associated with a legend about a 'rat' and Sesshū, a famous ink-landscape artist. Sesshū was put in the temple for ascetic training when he was young. However, he only liked to draw pictures and did not like to recite sutras. One day he was punished and tied to a column by a senior monk. When the monk decided to forgive Sesshū and untie him, he saw a large rat. The monk tried to chase the rat away, but it stayed still. Staring at it closely, he saw it was a rat drawn by Sesshū using his foot and his tears. The priest began to understand that the boy had an extraordinary talent for drawing and later he did not reproach Sesshū from drawing any more.
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越中和紙 Ecchu-washi Ecchu Japanese Paper

Jp En

Ecchu district, which is rich in high-quality water from the foot of the Northern Japanese Alps, has long been a production area of washi paper.

Ecchu washi is tough and flexible, and is used for many products from sliding paper doors and writing paper to paper lanterns, works of calligraphy and paintings, as well as prints and more than 100 kinds of dyed papers.

There is reference to Echhu washi in the Shosoin records, dating to the Nara period. Moreover, the Engishiki records from the Heian period mention that people paid their taxes using washi. Therefore, we can conclude that Ecchu washi has a long history.

Today, around Japan, there are many young people carrying on the traditions of Japanese paper, not only making dyed paper and classical washi using mulberry fiber, but developing new forms of paper handicraft, paper processed goods and souvenirs.
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