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Exploring Mingei (Folk craft) in Tottori Prefecture

I visited the Japan Folk Crafts museum in Tottori Prefecture and the adjacent restaurant “Takumi Kappou” founded by Shoya Yoshida (1989-1972) who is known for having spread the Mingei in Tottori Prefecture. Tottori is located in the western part of Japan, north of my hometown, Okayama.

"Mingei" is "hand-crafted art of ordinary people, the coin word of Japanese (民衆的工芸, minshū-teki kōgei) created by Yanagi Sōetsu who is the founder of Mingei movement in 1920's.

Yanagi discovered the beauty in everyday objects created by craftsmen and has spreaded Mingei movement in Japan.

Shoya Yoshida was favoured by Yanagi Soetsu and he joined the Mingei movement. Besides working as a doctor, Shoya Yoshida was a designer, producer, educator, and businessman who established the distribution system of minge craft in Tottori Prefecture. The museum showcases thousands of old mingei folk crafts collections.

“Takumi Kappou” serves the dish called “Susugi nabe (pot)” which is the roots of “Shabu-shabu”. “Shabu-shabu” is now widely known as one of Japanese traditional cuisines but I recently got to know that it was developed and expanded along with the Mingei movement. I missed “Susugi nabe” unfortunately but enjoyed the local delights with a variety of plates created by local mingei crafters. If you have a chance to visit Takumi Kappou, don’t miss trying “Susugi nabe”.

The plate with green and black glazing (called Ushinoto-yaki) is Mr. Yoshida’s representative design and it has been handed down to some kilns. This trip helped me experience the spirit of Mingei that carries on today. I bought some Ushinoto-yaki plates from a young dedicated craftsman as a souvenir which became one of my favorites.









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