Traditional crafts have been developed through the extensive history of Japan as necessities of daily life differing by region, each area with its own unique features. The Japanese government recognized the value of these traditional crafts and the need to pass on to future generations the special handcraft techniques used to make them. In order to implement appropriate measures, the Act on the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries (Densan) act was promulgated in 1974, since which time the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry has designated 218 items as traditional crafts.
The Association for the Promotion of Traditional Crafts Industries was founded in 1975 with the support of the national government.
Besides conducting various programes to promote local production, the association also mana variety of programmes to raise public awareness towards traditional crafts products and to expand the demand for traditional craft in Japan and abroad.
We met with Aiko Miyamoto and Mr Fukuda from The Association for the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries who told us about the associations work and we had a look round the exhibition centre for the METI-designated traditional crafts.
One of the major parts of their work is to qualify traditional crafts and recognise master craftsmen with the Dentou mark (Dentou means traditional)
They also do some fantastic work to promote traditional craftsmen and women and provide visitors with guides of workshops all over Japan. Their major programme events are : Permanent exhibitions of traditional craft products, special individual craft exhibitions, reference library, craft consultations, advice and contacts for repairs etc and they have membership club activities for traditional craft enthusiasts.