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Best Face Forward: The Magic of Japanese CarpentryAnne Kohtz

Wood is wood, you might think, but a skilled carpenter has many choices to make. How the wood will be used is determined not only by hardness, smell, and color, but also by its keshōmen, the “decorative face” that results from how it is cut from the log.

Tōjirō Knives: Bringing the Tsubame Brand of Cutting Quality to Global Kitchens

Tsubame in Niigata Prefecture is a small city of 80,000 people, but it produces some of Japan’s leading metalwork products. Today Tsubame has teamed up with the neighboring city of Sanjō to produce the Tsubame Sanjō brand of products, taking advantage of the area’s advanced techniques and skill. We visited knife maker Tōjirō and the Tsubame Industrial Materials Museum to learn how the local metalworking industry has developed.

Japan Picks 149 Artisans as Contemporary Masters (News)

Tokyo, Nov. 6 (Jiji Press)—The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare has chosen 149 people in Japan as contemporary master artisans for fiscal 2017, honoring them as leaders in their respective professions with outstanding skills. Those selected include Nakaie Hitoshi, a 55-year-old Toyota Motor Corp. employee from the central prefecture of Aichi, who is the world's foremost expert in casting …

Bjorn Heiberg, the “Savior of the Japanese Knife”

Razor-sharp Japanese wabōchō, chef’s knives created by skilled master craftsmen, are essential to the preparation of washoku. Bjorn Heiberg, who runs knife specialty stores in Osaka and Tokyo, fell in love with wabōchō after coming to Japan, and is spreading the good word about these remarkable knives to the rest of the world.

“Washi” (Japanese Paper)

Washi, or handmade Japanese paper, is still produced in every part of Japan. In 2014, UNESCO inscribed three of the most important washi traditions in its list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

Japanese Indigo, a Living Tradition

Aizome textiles, prized by the Sengoku samurai for their hygienic benefits as well as their beautiful "Japan blue" color, are the product of a complex and time-consuming process in which human know-how and natural phenomena play equally important roles. Our correspondent traveled to Tokushima, once a thriving center of indigo dyeing, for a hands-on lesson in this living tradition.

Turning Things Around for Japanese Companies: An Interview with Komatsu’s Sakane Masahiro

As part of its “Abenomics” program, the government recently launched a growth strategy designed to get the country’s economy moving again. Former Komatsu president Sakane Masahiro was one of the advisors on the government panel that helped to draw up the plan. We spoke to him about the impact of Abenomics and the challenges facing the Japanese economy.

Manga Artist Brings Bushidō Spirit to FranceLaurent Lefebvre

Every summer France hosts the Japan Expo to showcase Japanese pop culture. In 2012, the martial-arts manga artist Saruwatari Tetsuya attended the event. In this article, we spotlight his visit.

Traditional Crafts in the Modern Day

The city of Sumida in Tokyo has a history of craftsmanship and light industry dating back to the seventeenth century. That influence remains strong even today. We look at a selection of the area’s shops, all of which have an original take on traditional techniques and crafts.

Mitaka Kohki: From Outer Space to the Operating TheaterKikuchi Masanori

A small company with just 50 employees, Mitaka Kohki has developed a camera used by NASA and enjoys a 50% share of the market for neurosurgical microscopes. We take a look at the secrets behind the company’s success.

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