TORRANCE, CA, USA, December 29, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Traditional craft items are now seeing an increase in popularity with many consumers trying to find unique ways to accent their homes or discover that one-of-a-kind gift.
Taken from a selection of over 1,200 pieces, this one-stop online marketplace is dedicated to Japanese products that might be otherwise unknown outside their respective regions.
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JTB USA, Inc. launched an online ARTISAN store in August. This online store will make more than 1,200 traditional Japanese craft items from 34 brands available to buyers in the United States. The store also includes options to customize items for business or personal gift-giving.
In this modern era, traditional craftsmanship items are becoming more and more valuable because of the quality they offer when compared to cheap alternatives.
“Japanese craftsmanship brings high quality to the table.”
Limited by geography and overwhelmed by cheap, mass-produced goods, Japanese artisans have struggled to find new customers and keep their sometimes centuries-old techniques alive outside of Japan.
The ARTISAN store provides unique search methods. Customers can choose from 6 of Japan’s principal regions and homes in localities like Kyoto or Osaka. Or search by regional brands like “VEDUTA”, which is creating a completely new Kimono style incorporating streetwear, or “IKEHIKO”, which sells high-quality tatami products.
Customers can also delve into collections of the most popular Japanese crafts – like the Lucky Cat doll, also known as a Maneki-Neko in Japanese:
Ubiquitous in movies and TV shows depicting Japan, the Maneki-Neko is a good luck charm and is frequently seen in Japanese stores. The ARTISAN store carries a wide selection of famous cats.
This “Ichimatsu” Maneki-Neko is the creation of Toko Kakinuma, an award-winning artisan certified in traditional crafts and working out of the historic city of Koshigaya. Those designed with the “Ichimatsu” checkered pattern grant hope and prosperity.
Kakinuma’s dolls are painstakingly created, requiring one month for each doll and the input of up to 50 different artists, all using the finest quality materials.
On the ARTISAN webpage, shoppers will be able to read every detail of their purchases from the materials used to the name of the creator. Kakinuma even describes his Kimekomi technique, invented by craftsmen in Edo-era Japan.
Interesting facts: A raised right paw will get its owner more money. The left paw will get more customers. And both paws together will bring happiness.
Westerners often misunderstand the Maneki-Neko, believing the cats are waving or greeting people. However, Maneki means to call someone closer, or in the case of shops, beckoning them into the store.
The confusion comes from the difference between Japanese and Western gestures. Westerners call people closer by bending their fingers with their palms facing upwards. Japanese do the same, but with the palm facing down, like the Maneki-Neko when it lowers its arm.
The ARTISAN store is also great for conversation starters, like these Maruko Takagi magic sake glasses.
These visually striking pieces bring the beauty of Japanese culture and nature to the world, but will surprise guests with their most dynamic characteristic – they change colors.
Drinks under 17 degrees C (63 degrees F), will bring out vibrant colors enhancing the scenes from each season.
Located in Mino, Japan’s ceramics capital for 1300 years, Maruko Takagi has been on the leading edge of ceramics and glassware since its founding in 1887. Five generations of artisans have worked under the Takagi name, but the most recent president, Masaharu Takagi, has moved the company into an innovative new direction.
Nothing epitomizes the new Maruko Takagi like this “Warm and Cool” series of glasses, the result of long hours of experimentation and refinement.
The images depict the characteristics of Japanese seasons – the cherry blossoms of the spring, the fireworks-filled matsuris of summer, the colors of the Japanese maple in autumn, and the stark simplicity of the snowy winter.
The series is the latest iteration of a celebrated ceramics legacy. Maruko Takagi products are in the finest restaurants and even Japanese embassies around the world.
Now, Maruko Takagi ceramics and glassware are available to U.S. shoppers who cannot make the long journey to Mino – at least, not for now.
Like Kakinuma’s Maneki-Neko or Takagi’s glassware, every piece in the ARTISAN store has a story to tell, comes from a place with rich history, and is created by an artisan deeply dedicated to a traditional craft.
Many of the products can be personalized, making thoughtful gifts for individuals, and companies or marking a special occasion. Artisans can add names or logos. It’s as simple as reaching out, thanks to the personal connection we’ve cultivated with local craftspeople.
In the tradition of Japanese gift-giving, each piece can be gift-wrapped with beautiful Japanese washi wrapping paper and include a message card – a craft in and of itself.
And every purchase helps preserve the traditional techniques and culture that make Japanese crafts outstanding.
Another interesting fact: In Japan, the first dream of a new year is considered significant. For example, seeing Mount Fuji, eggplant or a hawk in the dream is especially auspicious.
And receiving a gift for the new year from ARTISAN is already a dream come true.
JTB USA, Inc. has been providing travel services, business trip coordination, and MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Convention, Event) planning for over 50 years. But when bringing U.S. travelers to Japan the company realized there was a serious problem.