I went to The Mingeikan Museum, or The Japan Folk Craft Museum. It’s a small but very beautiful museum with a massive traditional Japanese structure. What brought me there was a Li dynasty’s white pot, which inspired Muneyoshi Yanagi (1889-1961), a founder of the museum, to advocate the fork art movement in Japan.
The pot was smaller than I imagined and I almost passed it. It didn’t seem to be an epoch-making item that made Yanagi create a new concept of the folk art. It was more like quiet and reserved. That’s all the more reason for getting bored looking at it.
Yamagi received the pot from Noritaka Asakawa in1941. Asakawa, who was both teaching in elementary school and studying sculpture in Seoul, got to know that Yanagi owned his favorite Lodin temporary. Then, Asakawa rushed to visit Yanagi to see the Lodin all the way from Seoul with the Korean pot as a gift to Yanagi.
Yanagi was deeply fascinated with the pot and since then, he really got into Korean porcelains. Finally, he found the beauty in common crafts that were made by anonymous craftsmen and called it Mingei. According to what he defined Mingei, it should be practical, anonymous, mass-productive, reasonable,skilled, regional, collaborated and traditional. To put it simply, it’s an artfor the people, by the people.
The spirit of Mingei is still living in modern era. Besides, it is strongly developing. I was convinced of it when I heard the news that Naoto Fukasawa, a successful products designer became the 5thdirector of The Mingeikan Museum. Maybe,many people know or use the products that Fukasawa designed in their daily life. Muji products and ±０ design products are some of them.
There is no doubt that Fukasawa’s motto of his design “super-normal” is rooted in the beauty that Yanagi found.
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