We again welcome five Waza master craftspersons from Japan. The Waza represent a select group of over 100 artisans skilled in traditional crafts dating back to Japan's Edo Period, 300 years ago. These craftspersons are here to share a part of an old Japanese culture. They demonstrate their traditional handcrafted skills inherited over the generations. While the Waza travel throughout the world, Ginza Holiday is one of their few appearances in the U.S.
Mr. Eiji Kinoshita creates unique earthenware whose every creation is a new discovery of its own. Moving from the potters wheel, he became attracted to the natural beauty of stones and tiles. It is their forms that he transforms into ceramic earthenware. Applying the method known as carburetting, Mr. Kinoshita’s artforms require high heat and large quantities of smoke. Permeating into the earthenware, the smoke produces the unique colors of black and gray that infuses each creation with a distinctive luster.
Mr. Masahiro Kawakami is a third-generation maker of “tenugui,” loosely translated as towel art. However, unlike the typical western use, it could serve as a belt or a head cover. Cotton, an import from China in the 14th-16th century and made into towels, became popular throughout Japan in the Edo period as an accessory at rituals. Soon beautiful patterns and designs applied to the fabric became fashionable and in addition provided means of advertising products.
Mr. Kenichi Mouri's creations come from a versatile plant of the grass family, bamboo, common to East Asia. With strength rivaling the best hardwoods, and with greater flexibility, it becomes a natural choice for woven containment vessels. From purses to baskets to serving trays, Mr. Mouri's handiwork displays elegance and practicality. Coming from southern Japan, he is the winner of many national awards.
Mr. Meiko Fujimura specializes in "Ichimatsu Ningyo" where Ningyo means "article shaped like a human being." This particular type of doll evolved about 300 years ago and is recognized by its baby-like features and smooth complexion. Dolls play an integral part of Japanese culture and are displayed on March 3 in the girls' festival and on May 5th in the boys' festival. Old dolls retire their life in a special memorial service.