- What products have you made by hand?
- What craft tradition is your region known for?
- handicraft /HAN-dee-kraft/
- ceramics /suh-RAM-iks/
- famed /feymd/
- elegant /EL-i-guhnt/
- symbolize /SIM-buh-lahyz/
[noun] – a product that is made by hand rather than by using a machine
My friend’s shop is known for its handicrafts.
[noun] – the objects produced by shaping and baking clay, especially when considered as art
Ceramics and glass products are displayed on the shelf.
[adjective] – famous or known to many people
The city where I’m from is famed for its souvenir shops.
[adjective] – graceful and attractive in appearance or behavior
Her dress is simple yet elegant.
[verb] – to represent something
Sakura trees symbolize hope and renewal.
The quality of Japan’s wood, bamboo, and metal handicrafts is well-known. Many adore Japanese blades for their poetic steel, as well as their cast-iron vessels. Likewise, the country’s ceramics are admired for their simplicity on the one hand and complexity on the other. The washi paper lanterns popularized by Western mid-century moderns, origami (paper folding), kirigami (paper cutting), and wagasa (oil-paper umbrellas) are also among Japan’s famed elegant papercrafts. Despite their long history, Japanese crafts are constantly evolving. Due to the fragility of craft knowledge, the country has established a system of officially recognized master craftspeople and labeled some of the best persons working in each area as “living national treasures” to encourage appreciation for—and continued work in—these areas.
Japanese architect Kengo Kuma believes that the natural gentleness of Japanese crafts is the source of their power. Even the swords and knives have a calmness about them that symbolizes the amount of time and effort that has gone into them. Kuma considers Japanese crafts to be a philosophical gift to humanity.
- How many regions does Japan have?
- Why do many adore Japanese blades?
- What are among Japan’s famed papercrafts?
- In the article, what system has Japan’s government established?
- What does Kengo Kuma consider as a philosophical gift to humans?
- For you, what defines a country’s culture (music, language, etc.)?
- What interests you the most about your country’s culture and traditions?
- If you were given the chance to learn a traditional craft, which one would you choose and why?
- Should the Japanese people preserve or modernize their culture?
- How do you think should the Japanese people encourage the younger generation to learn craft traditions?