BOOKS / 出版物

Soetsu Yanagi

Soetsu Yanagi

Selected Essays on Japanese Folk Crafts

Yanagi Soetsu
Translated by Michael Brase

Art & Design

¥4,200 (Hardcover) | ¥3,500 (Paperback)

Published by JPIC | ISBN 978-4-916055-75-0 (Hardcover) | ISBN 978-4-86658-145-3 (Paperback) | 246 pages | 220mm (h) x 148mm (w) | March 2017

About the Book

● Sixteen incisive essays by Soetsu Yanagi, founder of the Japanese folk craft movement and author of The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty.

● Sixty-four full-color pages devoted to textiles, ceramics, wood and lacquer, metal, sculpture, and pictorial art.

The common utilitarian objects depicted in this book were considered aesthetically insignificant until the appearance of Soetsu Yanagi. It was Yanagi who discovered the beauty that could only be produced by simple, humble craftsmen repeatedly and unselfconsciously working on the same objects day after day. From this quotidian world emerged a distinctive beauty—wholesome, free, and devoid of self-awareness. To bring these crafts to the notice of the world, Yanagi established the Japan Folk Crafts Museum in 1936, from whose collection the objects illustrated herein have been chosen for inclusion by the publisher. In the essays, Yanagi expounds his philosophy of folk crafts and highlights particular pieces. Altogether, the book constitutes a penetrating insight into the world of Japanese handicrafts.

About the Author


Soetsu Yanagi (18891961) was born in Tokyo, the third son of Narayoshi and Katsuko Yanagi. In his travels across the country, he discovered the beauty of utilitarian objects produced by anonymous provincial craftsmen. In 1925 he gave these unrecognized works the name mingei, "folk craft." In 1934 the Japan Folk Craft Association was established, and in 1936 the long-awaited Japan Folk Crafts Museum came into being, with Yanagi serving as its first director.

In the interval, he continued his research on, and collection of, objects throughout Japan and Korea, which bore fruit in various papers on aesthetics, folk crafts, and the philosophy of religion, not to mention numerous art and handicraft exhibitions. In 1957, in acknowledgment of his unremmiting dedication to folk crafts, he was designated as a Person of Cultural Merit by the Japanese government.


🏆 Winner of the 2018-2019 Lindsley and Masao Miyoshi Translation Prize awarded by the Donald Keene Center at Columbia University. For more information, please click the following pdf icon.







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