National Crafts Museum: Preserving and Promoting Japanese Crafts
The National Crafts Museum, located in Kanazawa’s Kenrokuen Cultural Zone, is dedicated to preserving and promoting Japanese crafts. With a focus on modern crafts and design, the museum houses a collection of approximately 4,000 works, including ceramics, glass, lacquerware, woodwork, bamboo, dyeing and weaving, dolls, metalwork, industrial design, and graphic design. The museum building itself has a rich history, dating back to the Meiji period. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of the National Crafts Museum and its significance in preserving and showcasing Japanese craftwork.
History of the National Crafts Museum:
The National Crafts Museum was originally established in 1977 as the Crafts Gallery of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. However, in 2020, it was relocated to Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture as part of the Japanese government’s decentralization policy. Being the only national art museum that specializes in crafts and design, the museum’s collection plays an indispensable role in the study of Japanese art. While the exhibits primarily focus on post-World War II works, they also feature crafts from the 19th century to the present. The permanent collection includes a wide range of crafts, providing visitors with a comprehensive understanding of Japanese craftsmanship throughout history.
Architecture and Restoration:
The National Crafts Museum is housed in two historic buildings, namely the Old 9th Infantry Division Command Headquarters and the Old Army Generals Club. These buildings were carefully dismantled and relocated from the grounds of the Ishikawa Prefectural Noh Theater to the Kenrokuen Cultural Zone. After being reassembled, the buildings were restored to their original appearances and reinforced with concrete. Modern glass extensions were added to connect the two buildings, creating a seamless integration of old and new architecture. The restoration process aimed to preserve the historical significance of the buildings while providing a modern and functional space for the museum.
Matsuda Gonroku’s Workspace:
One of the highlights of the National Crafts Museum is the reassembled and restored working area of Matsuda Gonroku, a Living National Treasure renowned for his work with traditional Japanese lacquer. Visitors can step inside Matsuda Gonroku’s workspace and witness the tools and materials he used to practice his craft. The workspace has been recreated to appear exactly as it was during Gonroku’s lifetime, providing a glimpse into the world of traditional Japanese lacquer art. In addition to the physical workspace, the museum also features documentary videos about Gonroku’s life and work, offering visitors a deeper understanding of his artistic journey.
Exhibitions and Collections:
The National Crafts Museum boasts a diverse collection of crafts, showcasing the mastery and creativity of Japanese artisans. The collection includes woodwork, bamboowork, metalwork, glassware, ceramics, lacquer crafts, dolls, dyed and woven textiles, as well as examples of industrial and graphic design. The exhibits not only display the beauty and intricacy of the crafts but also shed light on the historical and cultural context in which they were created. The museum’s curators carefully select and curate the exhibits to provide visitors with a comprehensive overview of Japanese craftwork.
Educational Programs and Workshops:
The National Crafts Museum offers various educational programs and workshops to engage visitors and promote a deeper understanding of Japanese crafts. These programs cater to people of all ages and backgrounds, aiming to foster creativity and appreciation for traditional and contemporary crafts. The workshops provide hands-on experiences, allowing participants to learn traditional crafting techniques under the guidance of skilled artisans. By actively involving visitors in the creative process, the museum encourages a greater appreciation for the skills and craftsmanship involved in Japanese crafts.
How to Get There:
The National Crafts Museum is easily accessible from JR Kanazawa Station. Visitors can take a 10-20 minutes bus ride on the Hokutetsu local line from the East Gate Bus Terminal, located just outside the station, to the 21st Century Museum. From there, it is a seven-minute walk to the museum. The convenient location of the museum makes it easily accessible for both local and international visitors.
The National Crafts Museum in Kanazawa is a testament to the rich history and craftsmanship of Japanese arts. Through its comprehensive collection and educational programs, the museum plays a vital role in preserving and promoting Japanese crafts. Visitors have the opportunity to explore the world of traditional and contemporary crafts, gaining a deeper appreciation for the skills and creativity of Japanese artisans. Whether you are a craft enthusiast or simply interested in Japanese culture, a visit to the National Crafts Museum is a must when in Kanazawa.
Address And Maps Location:
3-2 Dewa-machi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken