City of Kyoto, traditional industries

We jumped straight in a taxi to our next meeting, this time with Shinichi Nakayama, assistant director of City of Kyotos Craft division. They do similar work alongside Kyotos prefectural government textiles and craft devision but they work mainly within the tourist industry in the city too.

Mr Nakayama explained about their current plans for promoting Kyotos traditional crafts of which there are 74 altogether

They are helping to create text for children in elementary schools to teach what traditional craft is all about. They help to provide demonstrations to help young children understand the work of the craftsman which is proving very successful.

As with the previous meeting, Mr Nakayama explained that Japanese traditional crafts, for so many years was reserved for the royal family and the future of the crafts survival depends on creating a market for the every day use which is one of their main priorities today. They are working on creating new markets for the masters of crafts, helping to pass on the techniques to younger generations which will innovate new modern ideas and helping them with branding and advertising.

One of Kyoto City’s recent projects is called ‘Kyoto Contemporary‘ to bring collaborations between Kyotos masters of craft and designers all over the world , which began 4 years ago. One of their collaborations was with Salvatore Ferragamo.

Another recent venture is a new challenge which is connecting Manga artists with global designers.

They have also created a competition for young craftsmen to have a chance to gain exposure in magazine and exhibit their work and receive scholarships for business training and organisation.

It’s been great to see in a bit more detail the work of both divisions who are doing some great work in helping to promote the traditional crafts industry and foster a new generation of makers for the future.

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