You could think that mastering the ethereal, long-lasting Japanese arts and crafts is impossible and that making the next One Piece requires using antiquated tools and a master’s whispered instructions. But it is not at all the case.
In Japan, the common individual may easily obtain various arts and crafts. You may start a new pastime with like-minded people nearby or produce an attractive present. Or perhaps you’re simply bored in the country.
Whatever your motivation, if you’re searching for a creative project to keep yourself occupied, this list can provide some inspiration.
Shodo (Japanese calligraphy)
Picking up a Japanese calligraphy brush doesn’t require being an expert in kanji. However, it is beneficial if you intend to learn the year’s hardest kanji or the all-time most challenging kanji. I will thus continue to use the words “ki” and “kawa,” thank you.
Shodo is a meditative activity that calls for a steady hand and a desire for the lexicon of Japanese. It has a noble history, connections to Buddhism, and unquestionable devotion. The “correct way” to do calligraphy does not exist. Instead, use expressive, personal brushstrokes to establish your path.
- a broad or skinny brush
- Calligraphy paper or board with ink
The ancient art of kintsugi embodies the idea of wabi-sabi or finding beauty in one’s flaws. You may repair broken china by using lacquer that has been combined with precious metals. You may put broken parts together and inject golden veins into rusted objects. The final product is amazing and often looks better than when the dish was brand new.
- Broken dishware
- kit for kintsugi
Uchiwa, portable and spherical fans, are ubiquitous across Japan, especially during the summertime. They are helpful and may be used to cool you off and send a message—literally—and are sometimes handed away for free, covered in an obnoxious advertisement.
With “ganbatte!” (do your best!) scrawled on the front, hand-made uchiwa are frequently seen waving in the crowd at concerts or motivating someone through the last leg of a marathon. This is what makes uchiwa beautiful. You can decorate it any way you choose, whether declaring your love or painting a detailed dragon design.
- A plain uchiwa fan
- Paint or markers
Mizuhiki (rice paper cord)
Want to dazzle a certain someone with a present that is ornately decorated? Then get proficient in mizuhiki.
The crown of many gifts in the West is often a tidy bow, but in Japan, rice paper cord, or mizuhiki, might be used in place of ribbons. Multiple strands are combined into an elaborate knot or design while remaining stiff but pliable. Mizuhiki is frequently found on the yearly otoshidama (new year money) envelope or firmly clasped to a thank-you note.
You may even try to create jaw-dropping sculptures if you want to take it further.
- Mizuhiki cord
- Plyers (not always necessary)
Origami is not a craft for quitters (guilty), but depending on what you want to make, it may be complex and effortless. The endless possibilities are evidenced by intricate drawings created by folding and twisting paper over hours or even days. The paper cuts are unimaginable to me.
One material—paper—has been used to create dragons, palaces, soldiers, and of course, the iconic paper crane.
- Origami paper
- Tutorial Video