There are currently over 1,000 different traditional crafts in Japan, and they are categorized into woven textiles, dyed textiles, ceramics, lacquerware, wood crafts, etc.
Among these crafts, some are unique works of art that are meant to be exhibited or preserved, but there are also plenty that are used in everyday life in Japan. Despite being practical items, they possess both functionality and aesthetic beauty. Not only do they make life more convenient, they are also a pleasure to touch and behold.
The traditional crafts of Japan are made using the natural resources of the local region, and have developed through the ages according to the local climate and lifestyle. Many are still made using traditional methods and techniques. With their uniquely Japanese forms and designs, as well as their precision and quality craftsmanship, they are highly valued both in Japan and abroad.
Among the crafts of Japan, those that have a history of at least 100 years and meet the following five criteria are officially designated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as "Traditional Craft Products": 1) it must be predominantly handmade; 2) it must be created using traditional techniques; 3) it must be crafted using traditionally used materials; 4) it must be made for use in everyday life; and 5) it must be made at its region of origin. As of August 2020, there are 235 designated Traditional Craft Products across Japan. These crafts are being made every day in every region in Japan.
Master artisans known as "Takumi" are the backbone of the traditional crafts of Japan. These takumi painstakingly work on their crafts with the strong conviction that they never put out any item they are not completely satisfied with. Many takumi finish their works with a signature or stamp that represents the passion and spirit they put into it.
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