A celebration of the expertise and diversity found in traditional Japanese art and crafts, “Craft Crossings in Tokyo” premiered in the Marunouchi district this weekend. Running until Monday November 6th, the exhibition is spread across several buildings adjacent to Tokyo station and features over 100 craft sellers, as well as product displays, technique demonstrations, and live performances.
The main exhibition is housed in Hall B of the Tokyo International Forum, where visitors can purchase goods from skilled arts and crafts businesses selected from across Japan and Tokyo prefecture. Lacquerware, silverware, woodblock prints, dyed fabrics, hand-forged blades and hand-painted kimono are some of the many trades included in the market.
While this expansive craft market should not be missed, the highlight of Craft Crossings may be the exhibit in Tokyo Building TOKIA. A long hallway has been refashioned with small replicas of Edo era shops and studios. A traditional kimono shop and merchant’s house stand alongside two demonstration corners, where master craftsmen are working live throughout the day. It’s a rare chance to get up close and see the process of an ukiyo-e woodblock print artist and other artisans who’ve been perfecting their trade for a lifetime.
In addition to artisan demonstrations, the Tokyo International Forum will feature live performances in traditional Japanese arts. Attendees on Sunday will be treated to shamisen music, traditional archery, and rakugo comedic storytelling.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike was on the scene Saturday at the Marunouchi Building to help promote the exhibition. After the opening ceremony, Koike took part in a panel with French pastry chef Pierre Hermé and Mitsuharu Kurokawa, a representative from the renowned Japanese sweets store Toraya. Commenting on and tasting desserts from each culture, the panel also sampled a rice pudding produced entirely from local grains found in Tokyo prefecture’s Hachioji City.
For the metropolitan government, “Craft Crossings” is a chance to spotlight the prefecture’s finest craftspeople and, hopefully, bring them good business. Koike’s attendance signaled Tokyo’s strong interest in supporting traditional industries.
Whether you’re a craft collector or a curious observer, there’s plenty to do and see at “Craft Crossings.” To enjoy these traditional Japanese arts visit one of the four Marunouchi exhibition buildings: Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo Building TOKIA, Marunouchi Building, and JP Tower Kitte. All are within walking distance from each other and Tokyo Station. Event staff are on site handing out flyers with maps and a full exhibition schedule.
Find more information at http://dento-tokyo.jp/english/