Friday, August 29, 2014

Flat design

Sometimes People say Japanese design has two dimensional format, in other words "flat" design.  
Let's try to explain what is the "flat" design by Ukiyo-e. 

The following pictures are Japanese Ukiyo-e (*1) and Italian fresco (*2) painting. 
We can see difference between these pictures.
The fresco painting has vanishing point and drawn materials are going to smaller and smaller. 
On the other hand, Materials are overlapped one another in Ukiyo-e, like a tree group is overlapped other tree group, people are overlapping with the tree group and, the last, rain is overlapping every materials. 



We can see The "flat" design in Japanese architectural design and landscape design.
Entsu-ji, kyoto(*3) was made in 1678, Edo era. The temple's garden was designd by the flat design. The design strategy is called borrowed landscape (Shakkei 借景). The garden is consisted by front moss garden, a hedge and trees in the middle and mountain, also, we can feel even if columns as a part of the garden.    


OYA stone (大谷石)

OYA stone is a kind of pumice tuff. 
The stone mining in Oya-mashi, Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi, Japan.
Hence it's soft and work easily, It have been used for exterior wall and so on.
The oldest usage example is ancient tomb which made in 6-7C. 

In Edo era, The stone came into use more as an architectural material.
Many warehouses used Oya stone (*1) remains in Kanto region, and of course the stone is still used today.
Most well known architecture using Oya stone  is "Imperial hotel" made by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1890.(*2)
Oya stone was used a lot of parts like exterior wall, interior wall, ornament and so on.
Unfortunately, The architecture was already destroyed but The potion of it was removed and reserved in The museum Meiji-mura, Aichi prefecture.



You can go sightseeing to Oya stone mining site.
The is also impressive place.
"Oya history musium"

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Washi-producing district

Washi List:

Sasa gami 笹紙
Fuki gami   富貴紙

Shiroishi washi  白石和紙
Marumori washi 丸森和紙
Yagyu washi   柳生和紙

Higashiyama washi  東山和紙
Narushima washi   成島和紙

Jyumonji washi 十文字和紙

Fukayama washi   深山和紙
Tsukiyama washi   月山和紙
Takamatsu washi  高松和紙
Nagasawa washi  長沢和紙

Kamikawasaki washi  上川崎和紙
Iwaki washi       岩城和紙
Tohno washi      遠野和紙 
Yamahunyu washi   山舟生和紙

Nishinouchi washi  西ノ内和紙
Gosuke washi         五介和紙      

Hodomura shi**  程村紙
Toriyama washi   鳥山和紙

Kiryu washi    桐生和紙

Ogawa washi     小川和紙
Hosokawa shi***   細川紙

Edo karakami*  江戸からかみ
Gundo shi      軍道紙

Oguni washi**    小国和紙
Kadoide washi  門出和紙
Koide washi    小出和紙

Etchu washi*   越中和紙

Kaga gampi shi     加賀雁皮紙
Kaga futamata washi  加賀二俣和紙
Noto nigyo washi    能登仁行和紙

Echizen washi*    越前和紙
Echizen housyo**   越前奉書
Wakasa washi      若狭和紙

Nishijima washi  西島和紙

Uchiyama shi*  内山紙

Santyu washi   山中和紙
Mino washi*    美濃和紙
Honmino shi**    本美濃紙

Suruga yuno gami  駿河柚野紙

Obara washi  小原和紙

Fukano washi  深野和紙
Ise washi      伊勢和紙

Naruko washi   なるこ和紙
Oumi gampi shi  近江雁皮紙

Karakami      からかみ
Kurotani washi    黒谷和紙

Sugihara shi          杉原紙
Najio gampi shi    名塩雁皮紙
Awaji tsunagami     淡路津名紙
Kobe washi      神戸和紙
Chikusa gampi shi  ちくさ雁皮紙

Yoshino washi  吉野和紙

Yasuda washi  保田和紙
Sanji gami    山路紙
Kohya gami   高野紙

Insyu washi*  因州和紙

Izumo mingeishi   出雲民芸紙
Sekisyu washi**   石州和紙
Hiikawa washi         斐伊川和紙
Hirose washi      広瀬和紙
Kachiji hanshi         勝地半紙

Tsuyama hakuaishi  津山箔合紙
Bichu washi       備中紙

Ohtake washi   大竹和紙

Tokuji washi  徳地和紙

Awa washi*       阿波和紙
Haigyu washi   拝宮和紙

Senka shi**   泉貨紙
Oozu washi*  大洲和紙
Iyo washi      伊予和紙
Syuso washi   周桑和紙

Yame washi    八女和紙

Nao washi     名尾和紙
Jubashi washi   重橋和紙

Mizumata washi  水俣和紙
Miyaji washi     宮地和紙

Takeda washi  竹田和紙
Yayoi washi   弥生和紙

Miyazaki washi  宮崎和紙
Mimitsu washi   美々津和紙

Gamou washi        蒲生和紙
Satsuma washi   さつま和紙

Ryukyu shi  琉球紙

***: National-designated important intangible cultural property
**: Selected intangible cultural properties
*: Traditional Industrial crafts products
No mark: Prefecture-designed traditional industrial crafts products
Gray: Other


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Japanese paper (WASHI 和紙)

Washi is Japanese traditional paper. Made using fibers from the bark of the gampi tree, the mitsumata shrub, or the paper mulberry.
Washi has longer fiber than western paper, so, it can be thin and strong.

The history
The oldest washi paper which had discovered in SHOSOIN, Nara was made in 8th century, and the paper was seemed still remain exactly the same as it was in 8th century.
Washi is said "maintain 1,000 years".

At first, paper making technique was came from China to Japan in 6th century. Time came to 7th century, the technique spread into around Japan.

How to use
1, A repair material for cultural property all around world.
2, Art paper; Japanese style painting and calligraphy.
3, A paper for Japanese paper currency.
4, finishing material for interior wall, ceiling and even if floor.
5, Material for fittings; Shoji, Fusuma
6, Material for clothe

There is various kind of washi.
Please see "Classification of Washi" and "Washi-producing district"


Bamboo screen (SUMUSHIKO 簾虫籠)

SUMUSHIKO means louver made of bamboo strings.
It was for insect cage at first, then this louver used for fittings especially in Toyama prefecture.

Wholesaler in port `MORI YA" (Kaisen donya 廻船問屋 森屋) in Toyama is most famous architecture which has SUMUSHIKO window.
We can see outside through SUMISHIKO window in inside, on the contrary, We can't see inside through it in outside at daytime.

Classification of Washi

There are various type of Washi.


   1. Machine-made washi

   2. Handmade washi

       2-1. Raw paper

           2-1-1. mulberry paper
           2-1-2. mitsumata paper
           2-1-3. gampi paper
           2-1-4. mixed paper
           2-1-5. other material paper
           2-1-6. paper for caligraphy and drawing paper

       2-2. Manufactured paper

           Manufactured before dry

           2-2-1. dying paper
           2-2-2. plowing paper
           2-2-3. watermarking paper

           Manufactured after dry

           2-2-4. crumpled paper
           2-2-5. tanned paper, oiled paper
           2-2-6. string (made from twisted paper)
           2-2-7. paper for fittings
           2-2-8. paper which has pattern

              2-2-8-1. dyeing
              2-2-8-2. print

Related books


Stepped bracket complex (TOKYO 斗栱)

Sometimes we find beautiful wooden structure at between roof and wall, the joint parts of Japanese shrine or temple.
It is called TOKYO (*1).


You can see it at Todai temple which made in 8th century.
 There was primary forest in Japan at that era, so, ancient Japanese people could use huge trees for the temple. Todai temple is simple and strong. (*2)

 *2 Todai temple

After 800 years, in Edo era, The primary forest was decreased because of growth of population.
Nikko Toshogu shrine made in 1617, has much more complex structure.(*3) 
That was caused by decrease in supply of wood. People in that era invented a detail which can use wood more efficient, the way of thinking was reflected to architectural design.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Jihei Ogawa (七代目 小川治兵衛)

Jihei Ogawa (1860-1933) was landscape gardener worked in Meiji era (1868-1912).
His great gardens are mainly in Kyoto, especially gardens for villas around Nanzen-ji zen temple made by using water of Biwa lake are his most famous works (*1).
Also, he is known as one of the person who established Japanese modern garden design.

*1 Murin an (early summer)
*1 Murin an (autumn)

*2 Heian jingu shrine

Related books

Japanese & English


Hard-packed dirt floor (TATAKI 三和土)

Tataki is hard-packed dirt floor made of red soil, gravel,hydrated lime and bittern.
This technique was useful for solidify soil without cement.

It have used be used for a part of Japanese firmer's house since Edo era (1603-1868).
The space named "Doma"."Doma" was used as semi outdoor space in where firmer worked at night or in rainy day.

Nowadays, Tataki is improved tougher by using cement, and used for various space.

*Aomori museum of art

White Nachi & Black Nachi (黒那智、白那智)

Nachi stone have been used for Japanese garden from Edo era(1603-1868).
Main producer of the stone is Kumano-shi, Mie prefecture.
Black Nachi stone has pure black color and shiny surface. 

Black Nachi stone (kuro nachi)

White Nachi stone (shiro nachi)

Usage exsample

The stone is used for rainwater drainage ditch(*1), pavement(*2) (used as is or sometimes used with cement ), and as a gravel stone on the bottom of water (*3). 

*2 "Araidashi" exposed-aggregate finish



We are Japanese.

We want to introduce Japanese traditional design to you in this site.
The site will be simple, easy to understand and useful.
Categories we are going to introduce are architectural design, interior design, landscape design and materials used for those.