A Film on Mingei Artist Minoru Kano

Wow, I came across this fantastic video earlier and I was surprised to see that it had only been watched 200 times in four years. A bit depressing to say the least. I have to admit the quality is not incredible, with most of it being very grainy and low on volume, but the content in the film is very inspiring and is perfectly matched to the topics we like to talk about (also the objects we tend to sell in our shop).

Over the last year or so I’ve gained a real appreciation for handcrafted works and objects that artists/designers have made off their own back, even furniture prototypes could fall in to this category. I’ve also been enticed by handworked functional tools, such as spoons and other productivity items, as they hark back to a time when things were thought about in a simplistic way. Basically catering to the needs of the human being. We’ve been lucky enough to pull a few artists in the shop already who still make these wonderful items, Warang Wayan and Mitsuru Maeda are two in-particular, but it’s unfortunate we can’t highlight all the great stuff going on in all the different countries (although we do try to do our bit through this blog).

The subject of this film is a woodworker who’s quite a character, his name is Minoru Kano and they’ve labeled him as a ‘mingei artist’. Although probably quite fitting to the work that he creates, it’s also a little bit cliche in my opinion and I’d prefer to single him out as a craftsman. In this video he discusses a bit about his beginnings, such as learning the value of hand-made goods from the words of Mahatma Gandhi and Soetsu Yanagi, also shedding light on handcrafted items and why they are very important in todays society. One other thing that grabbed me was when he started discussing his own home and how he wanted to build a place where he could live, Minoru achieved his goal and went on to build about 25 more of them for other people. Quite a feat!

So hopefully you’ll enjoy this piece below and you’ll go off to explore other craftsman like Minoru Kano, there’s certainly plenty out there! Also, please don’t be put off by this films age, although it’s been around for a while the conversation is still very relevant to todays society.