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naoto fukasawa: the selfless beauty of mingei

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT recently released a video for ‘mingei – another kind of art’, the exhibition directed by product designer naoto fukasawa. the exhibition, which took place from brought together 146 traditional and contemporary ‘mingei’ items from the japan folk crafts museum’s collection.


directed by filmmaker noriaki okamoto, the video takes viewers through the world of ‘mingei’, the japanese folk art movement that was first developed in the late 1920s and 1930s. you can watch the video above, and read our interview with naoto fukasawa, conducted before the exhibition opened at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, below. (for our preview of the exhibition, see previous coverage here).

naoto fukasawa: the selfless beauty of mingeiall screenshots courtesy of noriaki okamoto and 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT



designboom (DB): personally, why is it important for you to communicate traditional craftsmanship to the world?


naoto fukasawa (NF): after working in the design field for a long time, when I see an object, I can see more or less the process of the idea and how the shape has been created, but I can not see it from these objects here. there is a selfless beauty that is beyond our imagination. they have not been created by great artists, or takumi (meaning japanese traditional craft master), but ordinary people. their pure, casual, free power of the imagination touches my heart and I respect them.naoto fukasawa: the selfless beauty of mingei



DB: do you think society benefits from the artist-craftsman and why?


NF: after being inspired by mingei, I would like to place this ‘indescribable fascination’ on stage for people to see. in other words: only good design is not enough. I want those who work creatively to see this exhibition and to have the same surprise in the discovery of mingei and to feel jealous as a cause of it.naoto fukasawa: the selfless beauty of mingei



DB: how does the exhibition highlight the defining characteristics of mingei?


NF: what I feel for everything is a vague prettiness. I think it comes from the axis of soetsu yanagi’s atheistic sense. and it is a thing(object) with an indescribable fascination which you want to put it at hand and to love it.naoto fukasawa: the selfless beauty of mingei



DB: the works are displayed alongside written statements — how do these thoughts intend to enhance visitors understanding of the objects? and what are the reactions you hope visitors take away from the exhibition?


NF: in the exhibition, I have omitted the detail description about the time, the use, the region, etc… instead on behalf of them, I have added a short text which express ‘a mutter in my mind’. according to the words from yanagi, I hope that visitors see the works with their impression. rather than the information – this has been made when or where, how, or something… – instead I hope visitors share the impression or compare their feeling with my words.

naoto fukasawa: the selfless beauty of mingeinaoto fukasawa: the selfless beauty of mingei naoto fukasawa: the selfless beauty of mingei

naoto fukasawa: the selfless beauty of mingei
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