The Art of Japanese Life episode 3 – Home: In the final episode, Dr James Fox explores the art of the Japanese home. The clean minimalism of the Japanese home has been exported around the world, from modernist architecture to lifestyle stores like Muji. But the origins of this ubiquitous aesthetic evolved from a system of spiritual and philosophical values, dating back centuries.
James visits one of Japan’s last surviving traditional wooden villages, and the 17th-century villa of Rinshunkaku, and reveals how the unique spirit of Japanese craftsmen (shokunin) turned joinery into an artform – creating houses without the need for nails, screws or even glue.
Exploring some of the traditional arts of the Japanese home (where even food and flower arranging have been elevated to the level of art), James also investigates attitudes to domestic culture in modern Japan, meeting photographer Kyoichi Tsuzuki, chronicler of Japan’s crowded cities and tiny apartments.
Other highlights include a performance by calligrapher and artist Tomoko Kawao and a visit to the hometown of Terunobu Fujimori, one of the most singular and playful contemporary architects working in Japan today.
The Art of Japanese Life episode 3 – Home
Sankei-en is a traditional Japanese-style garden in Naka Ward, Yokohama, Japan, which opened in 1906. The garden was designed and built by Tomitaro Hara (原富太郎) (1868–1939), known by the pseudonym Sankei Hara, who was a silk trader. Almost all of its buildings are historically significant structures bought by Hara himself in locations all over the country, among them Tokyo, Kyoto, Kamakura, Gifu Prefecture, and Wakayama prefecture. Ten have been declared Important Cultural Property, and three more are Tangible Cultural Properties of Japan designated by the City of Yokohama.
Badly damaged during World War II, the garden was donated in 1953 to the City of Yokohama, which entrusted it to the Sankeien Hoshōkai Foundation (三溪園保勝会, Sankeien Hoshōkai). Sankei-en was then restored almost to its pre-war condition