The spirit of the shokunin, or Japanese craftsman, is one of the country's longest-held and most revered traditions.
poweredby.tokyo decided to explore how this unique and relentless dedication would apply to modern, contemporary crafts.
Art begins when an observer's sensibilities engage with the understatements of a calculating craftsman - Sara Genn
BESPOKE BIKE - Bike builder, Konno-san
Shinichi Konno, one of the world’s most revered bike builders, grants us privileged access into the deepest recesses of his mind and workspace. Konno's fundamentalist and philosophical approach to his craft has garnered universal admiration the world over, and his progressive and eccentric designs have established the Cherubim brand as the gold standard in handmade steel bike frames.
Every build is a personal struggle. Just selecting one pipe can take a lot of time.
MASTER OF GLASS - Kaleidoscope maker, Yamami-san
After a chance encounter with a kaleidoscope in Los Angeles while studying art, Koji Yamami went on to dedicate his life to perfecting the art form while becoming one of its most prominent ambassadors. With a strong cult following in the US, Koji is renowned for his seamless marriage of traditional Japanese craft and modern kaleidoscope art. He gives us an intimate look inside the beauty of light and mirrors at his Daikanyama atelier.
Of course, I want people to see the beauty in my work but what's most important to me is that people are left with a sense of awe and wonder when looking into one of my creations.
URBAN GLOW - Neon maker, Takahashi-san
Hidenobu Takahashi's passion for neon goes back to his childhood as he would gaze in awe and wonder at the warm glow of the streets of Yokohama. His fascination for American culture and hip-hop music are a heavy influence on his work; a fact made evident the second you step into his studio, where he has set up shop for the last 17 years. To Takahashi San, neon is more than just a job or a signboard; it's a culture and a lifestyle.
Before going out on my own, I got my start making neon signs for a signboard shop. There I felt the chemistry between myself and neon.
BLUE ROMANCE - Indigo dyer, Noriyuki-san
Indigo master Noriyuki Murata has been perfecting his craft for the better part of his life deep in the hills of a sleepy town 80 minutes northwest of Tokyo. A third-generation dyer, where in Japan they are considered national treasures, Murata san’s stained blue hands show unwavering passion and dedication to a craft that many worries is in danger of disappearing as demand exceeds supply. Murata san likens his relationship to indigo to that of a woman, unpredictable and a constant learning experience.
I want to show just how superior the methods and techniques from the Edo era are compared to modern chemical dying.
My style is a fusion of the best of the old and new techniques.
There are two men inside the artist, the poet and the craftsman. One is born a poet. One becomes a craftsman - Emile Zola
A poweredby.tokyo Production in collaboration with pen-online.com
Director: Artem Skiy
Art & Creative Director: Chace Fedor
Director of Photography: Artem Skiy
Photographer : JK Chekpo
Translator: Asako Tomotani
Editor: Artem Skiy
Producer: Asako Tomotani
Executive Producer: Chace Fedor
Illustrator: Jeremy Hannigan
Colorist: Artem Skiy
Visual Effects: Artem Skiy
Editorial Design - Julie Guillot
Urban Glow - Styling: Chace Fedor w/ Sugalism
Blue Romance - Digital Artist: Mai Hattori
Bespoke Bike - Music by Ryan Taubert & Sound Design by Jemapur
Master of Glass - Music by Blake Skowron
Urban Glow - Music by Hex Cougar & Additional Music by trog’low
Blue Romance - Music by Thomas Vent & Sound Design by Outlit