CraftMeet The CraftMeet Project aims to build regional brands for Japan’s Traditional Craft Products in order to generate increased overseas demand.To do so, the project invites the world to take another look at the value of the outstanding skills, techniques and local stories behind the Traditional Craft Products.

10 Appealing Themes Businesses and Production Regions Judged and Selected from among Japan's Officially Designated Traditional Craft Products, Organized into 10 Appealing Themes

What’s the CraftMeet Project?

The CraftMeet Project aims to build regional brands for Japan’s Traditional Craft Products in order to generate increased overseas demand. To do so, the project invites the world to take another look at the value of the outstanding skills, techniques and local stories behind the Traditional Craft Products designated under Japanese law. (The project is being subsidized in fiscal 2016 by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.)

CraftMeet Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry

Under the fiscal 2016 CraftMeet project, businesses, production region associations, scenic areas, etc., from among the 222 nationally designated Traditional Craft Products were evaluated to see if they met the prerequisite of “interested in overseas markets.” Among those which did, a select group was chosen based on these criteria: “Compelling content,” “Capacity to generate demand,” “Potential for sales channel development” and “Capacity to create a ripple effect in the region.” Next, 10 thematic tours were designed from the perspectives of “materials,” “categories” and “regions” to make it easy to appreciate the selected businesses, production regions, and scenic areas from all over Japan, thereby facilitating collaboration with overseas opinion leaders and the development of overseas sales channels. A business-to-business targeted “Storybook” booklet will feature these outstanding selected businesses, the production regions, and the 10 thematic tours, which will be introduced at lifestyle, craft, and fashion exhibitions outside Japan. Under the project, there are also plans to create opportunities for collaboration between the makers of the Japanese products and overseas experts such as leading brand managers, designers, buyers, and chefs, aiming to develop sales channels around the globe.

What are Japan’s nationally designated Traditional Craft Products?

Japan’s Law about Promotion of Officially Designated Traditional Craft Products Industry (Traditional Industries Law) sets out specific requirements that artisanal products must meet in areas such as traditional skills, techniques, raw materials, and production regions to be designated “Traditional Craft Products.” Under this nationwide system, there are currently 222 designated Traditional Craft Products.

What are Japan’s nationally designated Traditional Craft Products?

Detail

How the businesses and production regions were selected

Nominees were selected in an open recruitment process from businesses or production region associations, and recommendations from Japanese experts who have detailed knowledge from an overseas perspective about Japan’s Traditional Craft Products. The nominees were then evaluated and further winnowed, based on the criterion of “Interested in foreign markets,” selected for their compelling content, potential demand, capacity to generate new markets, and regional representation.

How the businesses and production regions were selected

Detail

About the 10 themes

Only those businesses, productions regions, and nearby scenic areas of the Traditional Craft Products from all over Japan that were evaluated and selected based on the criteria of the CraftMeet project were put together into 10 thematic tours based on the themes of “materials,” “categories,” and “regions.” This process was done with collaboration from experts outside Japan, with a view to generating sales outside Japan.

About the 10 themes

Detail

What are Japan’s nationally designated Traditional Craft Products?

Japan has developed many fine artisanal traditions which employ skills and techniques handed down over the ages. Only crafts that are strictly reviewed and have met specific requirements set out in Japan’s Law about Promotion of Officially Designated Traditional Craft Products Industry which demonstrate this culture of traditional skills and techniques, plus use of regional materials, artisanship and natural resources, are designated as Traditional Craft Products. Since the law came into force in 1974, 222 products have been designated.

Moving beyond the realm of traditional products, in recent years the makers of Japan’s Traditional Craft Products have ventured out to develop new products that make the most of their skills and techniques, collaborating with designers and well-known fashion brands in Japan and overseas.

Specific requirements to be designated as Traditional Craft Products

Requirement 1

A Century of Skills and Techniques

Manufactured using traditional skills or techniques

Under the Traditional Industries Law, “traditional” means the skills and techniques behind the crafts have at least 100 years of history, having been firmly established by the efforts and adaptations of various artisans’ improvements for a century or more.

Requirement 2

Materials Easy on People and on Nature

Using traditionally used raw materials

Traditional Craft Products must employ time-honored, ecologically friendly materials that have been carefully selected by artisans and consistently used for at least a century. Changing to similar raw materials with only slightly different characteristics is permitted only if the original raw materials have become depleted or are very difficult to obtain.

Requirement 3

Handcrafted Production

Main production process is handcrafted

This condition requires that the main production process — the process of quality, form, and design that maintains the heritage and creates the characteristics of the product — must be done by hand. Machines may only be used in secondary processes that do not affect product characteristics.

Requirement 4

Must Be of a Scale That Qualifies as an Industry

Production on a certain scale

The scale of production must be that of regional manufacturers with a certain scale (at least 10 businesses or 30 people) in a given region.

In addition to the criteria specified above, the item must be able to be used in daily life.

How the businesses and production regions were selected

To solicit nominees, open recruitment briefings on the CraftMeet project were held in 10 cities across Japan for the businesses and production region associations involved with the Traditional Craft Products. In addition, businesses and local scenic areas were added and listed per the recommendations of experts with detailed knowledge of the Traditional Craft Products.

Next, the businesses, production region associations and regional scenic areas were evaluated and selected to meet the CraftMeet project concept criterion of “Interested in foreign markets,” based on their compelling content, potential demand, capacity to generate new markets, and regional representation.

Selection Process

Step1 Japan’s 222 official traditional crafts Step2 Public nominations Expert recommendations Step3 Evaluated and selected per CraftMeet Project criteria

CraftMeet Selection Criteria

Intersted in overseas markets Compelling content Ripple effect in the region Can generate demand Potential new sales channels

CraftMeet Project experts in Japanese traditional craft products

Tsutomo Kanaya

Tsutomo Kanaya

Representative Director, CEMENT PRODUCE DESIGN Ltd.

profile
profile
Graduated from Kyoto Seika University. After working with a planning and production company and an advertising production companies, Kanaya founded CEMENT PRODUCE DESIGN Ltd. in 1999. He went on to engage in a broad variety of activities including commercial facility advertisement, direction for UNIQLO "Corporate Collaboration T-Shirts," and product planning and development for FrancFranc. Also worked on collaborative projects with local industries with a vision that included distribution, opening the gift salon, coto-mono-michi at TOKYO, in the Omotesando district of Tokyo. Continues to support the craftsmanship of manufacturing businesses in Kyoto and other regions all over Japan.
Tsutomo Kanaya

Tsutomo Kanaya

Representative Director, CEMENT PRODUCE DESIGN Ltd.

Graduated from Kyoto Seika University. After working with a planning and production company and an advertising production companies, Kanaya founded CEMENT PRODUCE DESIGN Ltd. in 1999. He went on to engage in a broad variety of activities including commercial facility advertisement, direction for UNIQLO "Corporate Collaboration T-Shirts," and product planning and development for FrancFranc. Also worked on collaborative projects with local industries with a vision that included distribution, opening the gift salon, coto-mono-michi at TOKYO, in the Omotesando district of Tokyo. Continues to support the craftsmanship of manufacturing businesses in Kyoto and other regions all over Japan.
Toshiki Kiriyama

Toshiki Kiriyama

Design Director

Representative Director, TRUNK Ltd.

profile
profile
Born in 1952. After working in advertising, marketing and design as an editor, Kiriyama established TRUNK Ltd. in 1988. He produced the YCS Design Library and architecture and design exhibitions, served as chair of a cross-industry networking council, and launched the net magazine JDN. Starting in 1993, he worked to set up the Toyama Design Center for Toyama Prefecture, serving as the planning manager. Currently, he is the design director for the Center. Beginning in 2005, produced appearances for LEXUS, CANON, and AISIN at the Milano Salone. Began working with JETRO as a producer in 2007 to develop overseas sales channels, and has done the same for the Association for the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries (DENSAN) since 2014. At the Expo Milano 2015 world's fair, handled PR and event production for the Japan pavilion. Also serves as producer for BITOWA and KANAYA.
Tsutomo Kanaya

Toshiki Kiriyama

Design Director

Representative Director, TRUNK Ltd.

Born in 1952. After working in advertising, marketing and design as an editor, Kiriyama established TRUNK Ltd. in 1988. He produced the YCS Design Library and architecture and design exhibitions, served as chair of a cross-industry networking council, and launched the net magazine JDN. Starting in 1993, he worked to set up the Toyama Design Center for Toyama Prefecture, serving as the planning manager. Currently, he is the design director for the Center. Beginning in 2005, produced appearances for LEXUS, CANON, and AISIN at the Milano Salone. Began working with JETRO as a producer in 2007 to develop overseas sales channels, and has done the same for the Association for the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries (DENSAN) since 2014. At the Expo Milano 2015 world's fair, handled PR and event production for the Japan pavilion. Also serves as producer for BITOWA and KANAYA.
Kazuya Shimokawa

Kazuya Shimokawa

Representative Director, Ideas & Crafts Lab Co., Ltd.

profile
profile
Born in Saga Prefecture in 1963. In 1988, joined Nikkei McGraw-Hill (now Nikkei BP). After working as an editor on Nikkei events and on Nikkei Store design, he had served as editorial director for Nikkei Design. In 2014, founded Ideas & Crafts Lab Co., Ltd. Serves as visiting professor at the Kyoto University of Art and Design and as an adjunct lecturer at Tama Art University. Often lectures on the theme of traditional crafts, local industries and design. For Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, serves as an ad hoc member of the Industrial Structure Council and as a member of the Design System Subcommittee of the Intellectual Property Committee, and has also served as a judge for various design awards.
Kazuya Shimokawa

Kazuya Shimokawa

Representative Director, Ideas & Crafts Lab Co., Ltd.

Born in Saga Prefecture in 1963. In 1988, joined Nikkei McGraw-Hill (now Nikkei BP). After working as an editor on Nikkei events and on Nikkei Store design, he had served as editorial director for Nikkei Design. In 2014, founded Ideas & Crafts Lab Co., Ltd. Serves as visiting professor at the Kyoto University of Art and Design and as an adjunct lecturer at Tama Art University. Often lectures on the theme of traditional crafts, local industries and design. For Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, serves as an ad hoc member of the Industrial Structure Council and as a member of the Design System Subcommittee of the Intellectual Property Committee, and has also served as a judge for various design awards.
Toshihiro Takahashi

Toshihiro Takahashi

Producer, Discover Japan

Ei-Publishing Co., Ltd.

profile
profile
Born in Okayama Prefecture in 1973. In 1999, joined EI-Publishing Co., Ltd. Launched Discover Japan, a magazine focused on the theme of rediscovering the appeal of architecture, interiors, and design. Through the magazine, is actively engaged in regional revitalization efforts. Serves as a judge for the Craft Competition in Takaoka, director of the Basyobunka Forum, judge for the Kyo-mono Youth Competition (Kyoto City), and representative director of the Local-Area Branding Association.
Toshihiro Takahashi

Toshihiro Takahashi

Producer, Discover Japan

Ei-Publishing Co., Ltd.

Born in Okayama Prefecture in 1973. In 1999, joined EI-Publishing Co., Ltd. Launched Discover Japan, a magazine focused on the theme of rediscovering the appeal of architecture, interiors, and design. Through the magazine, is actively engaged in regional revitalization efforts. Serves as a judge for the Craft Competition in Takaoka, director of the Basyobunka Forum, judge for the Kyo-mono Youth Competition (Kyoto City), and representative director of the Local-Area Branding Association.
Okisato Nagata

Okisato Nagata

Planning Director

Representative, EXS Inc.

profile
profile
Graduated from the Kanazawa College of Art. In 2001, building on his research into Japanese swords and sword accoutrements, he worked with France's Hermes to jointly produce sword accoutrements, going on to participate in the Istanbul Biennial and other contemporary art exhibitions. Later, he served in the networking office of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa. After serving as design director for t.c.k.w Inc., he joined EXS Inc., where he is involved in developing industrial products, local products, and traditional craft products based on the key concept, “Connecting the Makers.” In 2010, he launched the tetete Committee.
Okisato Nagata

Okisato Nagata

Planning Director

Representative, EXS Inc.

Graduated from the Kanazawa College of Art. In 2001, building on his research into Japanese swords and sword accoutrements, he worked with France's Hermes to jointly produce sword accoutrements, going on to participate in the Istanbul Biennial and other contemporary art exhibitions. Later, he served in the networking office of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa. After serving as design director for t.c.k.w Inc., he joined EXS Inc., where he is involved in developing industrial products, local products, and traditional craft products based on the key concept, “Connecting the Makers.” In 2010, he launched the tetete Committee.
Junzo Yamashita

Junzo Yamashita

Creative Director

Representative Director, SPACE MAGIC MON Co.

profile
profile
Born in 1958 in Kyoto. In 1990, he established SPACE MAGIC MON Co., an interior and product design studio. Applies craftsmanship based on the concept that traditional products can be brought to life by building spaces with a Japanese aesthetic. Develops designs that make the most of Kyoto's beloved traditional materials and techniques.
Junzo Yamashita

Junzo Yamashita

Creative Director

Representative Director, SPACE MAGIC MON Co.

Born in 1958 in Kyoto. In 1990, he established SPACE MAGIC MON Co., an interior and product design studio. Applies craftsmanship based on the concept that traditional products can be brought to life by building spaces with a Japanese aesthetic. Develops designs that make the most of Kyoto's beloved traditional materials and techniques.
Yu Yamada

Yu Yamada

Buyer, Editorial Supervisor

Representative Director, method co., ltd.

profile
profile
Born in Tokyo. After working as a buyer for the IDEE Shop in Minami-Aoyama, in 2007 he established method co., ltd. and began working as a freelance buyer. Currently serves as representative director of method. In 2013, published Yu Yamada's Tokyo Shopping Guide with Ei-Publishing as an extra issue of Discover Japan. In 2014, published The Method of Shop Success with Seibundo Shinkosha. Serves on the judging panel for the Good Design Award and as a judge for various competitions. Active in a variety of areas, he serves as a part-time lecturer at Kyoto Seika University and gives talks and lectures at various other educational institutions and in local production regions.
Yu Yamada

Yu Yamada

Buyer, Editorial Supervisor

Representative Director, method co., ltd.

Born in Tokyo. After working as a buyer for the IDEE Shop in Minami-Aoyama, in 2007 he established method co., ltd. and began working as a freelance buyer. Currently serves as representative director of method. In 2013, published Yu Yamada's Tokyo Shopping Guide with Ei-Publishing as an extra issue of Discover Japan. In 2014, published The Method of Shop Success with Seibundo Shinkosha. Serves on the judging panel for the Good Design Award and as a judge for various competitions. Active in a variety of areas, he serves as a part-time lecturer at Kyoto Seika University and gives talks and lectures at various other educational institutions and in local production regions.

About the 10 themes

Only those businesses, productions regions, and nearby scenic areas of the Traditional Craft Products from all over Japan that were evaluated and selected based on the criteria of the CraftMeet project were put together into 10 appealing themes based on “materials,” “categories,” and “regions.” This process was done with collaboration from experts outside Japan, with a view to generating sales outside Japan.

Theme 1Japanese Paper (Washi)

Introducing the production regions of washi, which is now drawing attention not only as a writing or drawing material, but also for its various uses in interior or building materials. This tour introduces Mino Washi from Gifu prefecture and Inshu Washi from Tottori prefecture as advanced product examples, and visits Echizen Washi from Fukui prefecture and Awa Washi from Tokushima prefecture as production regions.

Theme 2Metal Craft Products

With origins in feudal arms production, Japan’s metal craft products now reach far into daily life, where people use them for cutlery, commodities and interior goods. This theme covers the production regions of metal craft products, such as Banshu in Hyogo prefecture, Kochi and Sakai in Osaka prefecture, and also Tsubame in Niigata prefecture, Takaoka in Toyama prefecture, and Yamagata prefecture.


Theme 3Ceramics

Featuring the Tokai, Kyushu and Hokuriku areas, leading ceramic production regions, as well as other medium-sized and smaller kilns. This theme spotlights unique approaches from Mino in Gifu prefecture, Banko in Mie prefecture, Kiyomizu in Kyoto prefecture, Koishiwara in Fukuoka prefecture, and Bizen in Okayama prefecture.

Theme 4Textiles

Textiles have rich characteristics depending on their production region and historical background. This theme introduces handcrafts based on tradition, design features and material, as well as cases of collaboration with brands, other manufacturers and advanced technologies.

Theme 5Lacquerware

Japanese lacquerware has been evolving since the late 16th century. Introducing both daily-use lacquerware and artistic lacquerware, covering various purposes and uses, based on the specific styles of each production region. This theme covers histories, raw materials, and differences in processes and features, as well as the specific styles of Aizu-nuri, Yamanaka-shikki, Wajima-nuri and Kanazawa-shikki.

Theme 6Furniture, Family Buddhist Altars

In the furniture category, this theme will introduce Iwayado Tansu and Sendai Tansu cases to show off the manufacturing process for furniture which exhibits all the graceful touch of the Traditional Craft Products. In the family Buddhist altar category, the theme will show why these altars are called the ultimate Japanese craft — integrating many craft techniques such as wood craft, metal craft, and lacquer craft. In both categories, the theme covers the contrasting skills and techniques used in traditional and advanced production.

Theme 7Household Goods

Covering the household goods category, this theme will introduce products made using the skills and techniques of the Traditional Craft Products. Learn all about Odate-mage-wappa from Akita prefecture, Nagiso-rokuro from Nagano prefecture, and traditional Kokeshi from Miyagi prefecture, all crafts rooted in the lives of the people. Plus, find out how these crafts are branching out into new collaborations.


Theme 8Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka

Covering the Kyoto, Tokyo and Osaka areas, this theme will introduce the typical urban features that spurred the growth of Japanese culture, and also highlight the culture of Kyoto nobility, the culture of the Edo commoner, and the culture of the Osaka merchant, all by making comparisons through crafts.

Theme 9Hokuriku, Hokuetsu

The Hokuriku and Hokuetsu areas are ideal for getting to know some of Japan’s best Traditional Craft Products, all located close together. This theme introduces a variety of items, including lacquerware, ceramics, metal craft products, furniture and household goods, all of which have won the highest marks in and outside of Japan, yet are in close proximity and are easy to get to.

Theme 10Hokkaido, Tohoku

Introducing the traditional patterns of the Ainu, the indigenous people of Hokkaido, featuring designs that express reverence for nature. Then explore the craft designs and unique patterns that reflect each era of the domains specific to the Tohoku area, and find out how these designs live on in the modern age.

Participating businesses, production region associations

This is a list of the businesses and production region associations selected according to the CraftMeet Project criteria from among the public nominees and expert recommendations.
Scenic areas and business which win high marks from overseas experts will be featured in the Storybook and on the website.

pagetop