Random facts about traditional Japanese arts and crafts

Random facts about ukiyoe prints

Ukiyoe prints were often pasted on walls or screens to brighten up a new home, and were launched to take advantage of the major rebuilding after the 1657 great fire in Edo

The uki of ukiyoe is written with the kanji for floating (浮), but it was derived from the Buddhist term for sadness, making ukiyoe the “world of sorrows/burdens” that we should try to escape from rebirth into

The famous ukiyoe books of courtesans not only pictured them and praise their virtues, but also give their addresses and prices. Monthly magazines do the exact same for hostesses now, but I doubt they will be considered art and collected 100 years from now…

Random facts about katana (Japanese swords)

Yaki-ire- the process of heating a sword until it is red hot and then plunging it into water- is only performed at night with the lights out,so that the swordsmith can see the colour of the blade in order to judge its temperature. Sounds dramatic!

Random facts about noren (half curtains that hang in shop doorways)

The noren may have come from China as part of the paraphernalia associated with Buddhism

Random facts about tatami

They not only absorb moisture on humid days, but also air pollutants such as exhaust gas

Nowadays, most tatami is imported from Taiwan and China

Random facts about shikki (漆器- Japanese lacquerware)

Its hardness is such that it was used to coat the leather breast-plates on samurai suits of armour”  Things Japanese pg 10

“Unlike other varnishes, it requires no solvent” Things Japanese pg 10


  1. Jessicca said,

    May 12, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    needs more information about the arts.

  2. Nicole said,

    June 21, 2009 at 3:21 am

    needs more random facts about japan arts

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