See craftsmen in action at Tokyo Monozukuri

The scene of the Monozukuri event held last year

The Japan NewsYou may know a good work of craftsmanship when you see one, but do you know the effort and technique that goes into making it? Learning how seasoned artisans produce fine works may convince you that their skills should be cherished and preserved.

Distinguished craftsmen from more than 70 groups and businesses nationwide will gather in the Gotanda area of Tokyo on July 25-27 for “Monozukuri — A Celebration of Japanese Artisanal Techniques,” an expo hosted by the Tokyo metropolitan government. They will demonstrate their skills in fields ranging from carpentry and pottery-making to artistic food preparation. The free event gives visitors the chance to see time-honored Japanese crafts peculiar to each region without spending tens of thousands of yen on trips to hunt them down.

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    Maki-e (Japanese lacquer decoration) is added to Kawatsura lacquerware from Akita Prefecture.

The expo features a demonstration in which veteran carpenters will build a Japanese-style room on a foundation the size of four tatami mats. The carpenters will first construct a basic floor before laying tatami mats and installing a threshold sill and transoms. Visitors can learn firsthand the techniques and skills required to build a room without using nails.

Meanwhile, a tea room in the venue will serve as an example of typical Japanese architecture, the culmination of a wide range of architectural techniques including landscaping, tiling, plastering, mounting and fitting.

Former K-1 mixed martial arts fighter Masato will take the stage to try his hand at various carpentry techniques throughout the event. A total of 85 workshops (as of July 9) will be offered, with 56 requiring advance reservations. A food court will offer bento from long-established restaurants as well as bread and sweets from popular shops.

The exhibition, the fourth of its kind, was organized to counter the dwindling popularity of monozukuri and promote interest in the field. The event initially aimed to capture the attention of elementary and junior high school students and their parents, but more foreigners have been visiting recently, according to an organizer.

“Japanese crafts are delicate and durable. They’re carefully made and well designed,” said the organizer.

■ Information

Dates/Time: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on July 25 to 26

10 a.m.-5 p.m. on July 27

Venue: TOC Exhibition Hall (13th floor) in Gotanda, Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo.

Admission: Free, but material fees are required at some workshops

Information: www.monozukuri-takumi-expo.tokyoSpeech

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