Report of 2 workshops, Soroban & Sashiko

Hello, I’m Tomoko Kobayashi, student of Kyusyu University in Japan. I started my internship at JCE since this month. I will report various projects of this company, nice to meet you.

Today, I observed two workshops, about Banshu Soroban and Sashiko.

First, about Banshu Soroban. Soroban is abacus.

Mr. Miyanaga came from Ono city in Hyougo prefecture as an instructor and over 10 couple of families joined this workshop. Ono city is the best producing district in Japan by its own superior techniques to process the materials like frame, axis, bead and so on.

Since materials and hammers were already prepared, the process was

  1.    Choose number of the reed you want
  2.    Choose the parts and assemble
  3.    After assembling, get a check by Mr. Miyanaga.
  4.    Let’s bring back to home!

It was very easy that small children could do it.

During this process, children could make their original only one abacus in the world by choosing their own color parts, and their parents also could know the structures of abacus together.

Have you ever seen these process?

Although I thought it was the goods which I would buy at a store, it was which we could make.

Through this workshop, for children, they came to know the pleasure of making things by hand and get deeper knowledge about the things around them, also for parents, it became the place to communicate each other, too.

Everyone enjoyed making their own abacus! Mr. Miyanaga has a fascinating personality.


Next, about workshop of Sashiko.

Most of participants of this workshop were Dutch, and this was the first time with male participant!

This workshop is popular in JCE, there are some articles about it on our website.

I would like to report it again by another view point as a newcomer.

As an instructor, Mr. Koumoto said “Sashiko is not fancy” before starting the workshop, the process of stitching step by step is very simple and steady. Why is this workshop so popular?

Points to stitch is, roughly, these two.

-make the same size of stitch

-not to make the space between cloth and thread  

It is very difficult to continue stitch being conscious about these things.

When we could make same size of stitch, sometimes its directions were not same.

It looks easy but it has some difficulties.



At this time, I only observed, so I asked participants to let me know their impression.

They said,

-could be concentrated on their own work

-could find a shape made by whole steps at the end

-gradually, started to pay attention to the unbalanced shape with each seam and fell into own work

-very glad to experience the same techniques of their favorite clothing by thirselves

Originally, Sashiko techniques was born with the consideration for their family to keep warm and also make cloth durable by stitching between fibers with needle at very cold district, and broadened as the handicraft to the whole Japan.

The reason you can be concentrated by stitching is maybe, you can perceive its original feelings of the makers through this experience.

I was very impressed by knowing the facts that you gave your interests to Japanese traditional crafts born by the techniques with consideration for family or things and succeeded till today.

I really wanted to join workshops, I’ll do next time!



POP UP Lab & Shop
of Kyoto traditional products
in Amsterdam

As the old capital where Japanese emperors resided for more than a thousand years, Kyoto is one of the ultimate cultural centers of Japan and still a home to many companies making diverse traditional products with amazing techniques. From 15 September 2016 to 31 March 2017, high quality products made by nine of such companies from Kyoto will be exhibited and sold at MAKER KAMER in Amsterdam.

MAKER KAMER is a place where the traditional products from Kyoto and Dutch creativity meet. Creators from Japan and Holland are encouraged to exchange their thoughts to learn from each other and be inspired. During the exhibition period, many workshops and events will be organized to create new opportunities for people, things, techniques and ideas to interact!

With the aim to create something new with Japanese high standard techniques, the project provides opportunities for Japanese creators to interact with MAKER KAMER visitors to understand and be inspired by the Dutch and European lifestyles and tastes. The short-term goal of the project is to present all the feedback at MONO JAPAN, a trade fair and a cultural event for Japanese products, which will be held in February 2017 in Amsterdam. The feedback will then be used as a reference to create new products in the future.

The opening reception will be held on Thursday, 15th September 2016, from 18:00. Please see details from HERE.

Period of pop up: 16th September 2016 – 31st March 2017

Open date & time: Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 – 18:00

Date & time of opening reception: Thursday, 15th September 2016, 18 – 20:00 (See details from HERE)

Location: Japan Cultural Exchange (above ‘t Japanse Winkeltje)

Address:  Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 177-1,  1012 RK Amsterdam



Supported by:
Kyoto_logoKyoto Prefecture
RO_KN_Logo Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Japan