Kawai Kanjiro

I recently returned from one of my favorite places to visit in Kyoto…. the home of Kawai Kanjiro, who was a master craftsman.  He and a few others started the Mingei (folkcraft) movement in Japan.  As a reaction to the increasing industrialization and how it contributed to the loss of beauty and good craftmanship in everyday objects, they felt that a resurgence in good craft was needed in society.  And so they dedicated their lives to producing good work for the people, naturally imbued with spirit and beauty.  His home, which he designed, is now a museum, and it shows some of the great and humble work he created in his life.

Kanjiro put his heart and hand into creating sculpture, furniture, calligraphy, and pottery.  He never signed his pieces, which in itself is a signature of the Mingei movement.  Rather than place the importance on the individual craftsman, instead they focused on the form and feeling, which would be their greatest signature.

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