MONO JAPAN 2017- Japanese Craft & Design –

Last February we Japan Cultural Exchange hold MONO JAPAN for the first time, which was to convey the background of Japan’s current product and Japanese manufacturing. And guess what, we’re going to make a comeback with even more vigour in February 2017! 26 exhibitors will come to Amsterdam, and 24 of them are from Japan. It’s going to be a large event as around 70 people will participate.

MONO JAPAN produced various achievements last time, which ranges from business to cultural projects. Japan Cultural Exchange has continued to help many creators step to the next level after the event.

Since our last event had a very good Netherlands, this time we decided to invite many experts and hold quite interesting lectures by them.
We have two themes in these lectures as follows; how was the influence of Japan’s manufacturing culture in the Netherlands, and how can the creative industry between the two countries influence and cooperate each other as well?

As workshops were very popular last time, a wider range of them will be held this year. These exhibitors will come from various parts of Japan, and therefore you must be going to have such rare experiences.

Well, here are the highlights of MONO JAPAN!

1. Pottery from the north western part of Kyushu gets together!
Stylish pottery from Nagasaki prefecture, Karatsu-yaki (“yaki” means “ware”) from Saga prefecture, Arita-yaki from “2016/ ARITA”, and Hasami-yaki from “Maruhiro””Asemi Co”. All of them are from the north western part of Kyushu.
We promise that they will strike a deep chord in your heart, as Japan was trading with the Netherlands based in Kyushu in the 17c.

2. Abundant textile manufacturer
Five companies are exhibiting their products to convey the attractiveness of Japanese textiles such as traditional dyeing and drawing (what we call “Some” and “Shibori”). And of course, we also hold workshops and lectures so that you can experience them.

3. Attractive new exhibitors
From plastic products to organic underwear. From playful exhibitions to where you can learn about the history of the production area. You can see the world of wide variety of manufacturing.

4. Tea room by architect Fumihiko Sano!
Great news. Tea room finally appears at Lloyd Hotel!
Mr. Fumihiko Sano who is currently dispatched abroad as a Japanese ambassador for civilization is making his own tea room in various countries around the world. In the Netherlands, a tea room is born at Lloyd Hotel, and it will be open to the public at the same time this event. During the event IZUMONO will host the tea ceremony in this room. Don’t miss the full-fledged tea ceremony!

5. Free entry for all lectures
We invite Dutch and Japanese experts for these programmes, and are going to approach Japanese manufacturing from various points of view. Then we will focus on the history of cooperation and manufacturing between Japan and the Netherlands -It will be absolutely exciting!

6. Enjoy Japanese food & drinks and trips during the exhibition!
We prepare loads of Japanese food and drinks at the Lloyd Hotel during MONO JAPAN. Also you can get information on the trip to Japan if you want to.

Period: 2 – 5 February 2017 (2nd Feb: press and professionals preview. By invitation only)
Time: 2nd -4th 11:00-20:00, 5th 11:00-18:00
Place: Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy
For more info, please check MONO JAPAN’s website (

Tomoko’s 2016 in the Netherlands

Hello, I’m Tomoko.
It’s already 4 month since I came here, it was very short but very long time for me.

I want to look back for my life or discoveries.

I spent these days working as an intern at Schiphol airport as my school project, and also working at JCE on weekend, and every time I talked with Emiko about what happened during the week.

First, I want to write about work at JCE.

Briefly, I started to work at here because I was interested in Japanese traditional crafts or techniques but what I knew was really small amount, so I wanted to know about that more and more.

By joining in many events like MAKER KAMER, ELLE decoration live, JAPAN Market, design exhibition of Yuzen, I had opportunities to tell to customer about the products face to face, help to organize the event, I could experience many many things. Every time I felt both feeling, excitement and difficulty. It’s very exciting thing to make better something when I face some difficulty and it was so precious experience to do by myself because if I don’t know, I can’t find what is happening at background of the event.

Besides, I could listen very interesting story that Mr. Nakajima told me when I met him during the Yuzen design exhibition. It was about the productive side. For example, about coming of age ceremony. If there are one million people of my age, if there are half million men and women, and one out of five will buy Furisode, it is specific Kimono for this ceremony, producers have to make 100 thousands of that. If they make more amount of Kimono, these will be not necessary.

At the same time, they have to think about which company will make how many, and if there are so many company, it’s not easy to know that. Also, about a reason that works for craftsman is disappearing, he told me a lot of stories about “present” situation. These are very natural but I didn’t focus so very stimulated for me. I want to write about this again at the other time.

Since I came to here, by many experiences, meeting so many people, my perspective was broadened very much. I could find many new ways to choose after this study and now I got lost my way of life. It’s very happy thing for me.

Everything I touched has wider and deeper side than I expected, and always there were culture in every background. I felt like I dived into the sea filled with Japanese culture.

About the total thing,

Every day I feel differences between Dutch and Japanese culture, like service or how to tell our opinions. Since we have different backgrounds, meanings of words or sentences come to be different, too, and it is not easy to understand each other. We have to talk a lot and it takes long time.

Strengths has also weakness, so I want to experience a lot and want to be able to choose the best way when I face the same situation.

Though there are so many difficulties, what I feel the best thing to come here is I can think sincerely about myself and also my home country, about social problem, education, traditional crafts or culture and more. Even just walking around, all are first time for me at here, it is very exciting.

My world was very small.

After coming here, I faced my weakness or bad point a lot of time, sometimes tried something to overcome, thought about it very hard, disappointed myself, escaped to somewhere, grew up a little, this is my life in 2016.

I would like to try many things also in 2017 and grow up as much as I can.

Thank you very much for reading.

See you again in next year,

Tomoko Kobayashi


Sumie workshop report (22 October)

Hello, I’m Tomoko.
This is my report of the Sumie workshop held on the 22nd of October.

When you hear the word, ”Sumie”, what do you think?
I thought it was just drawing pictures with ink. Some of you may think how simple it is, but after the workshop my feeling changed surprisingly.

This workshop had already been held a few times at JCE and this time, its content was to draw the landscape in Suibokuga. Ms. Katamine lectured us, she came from Leiden.

By the way, painting only in ink are called Sumie and among sumie, paintings that use various techniques of shading and graduation are called Suibokuga in Japanese.

Process of this workshop is,
1. Explanation of Sumie
2. Making ink by rubbing an ink stick on an ink stone
3. Demonstration of each drawing techniques and trying it out
4. Let’s draw a landscape!

At first, Ms. Katamine explained about the history and various techniques of Sumie, and differences between two kinds of stamps on pictures, Gain and Yuin. After that, participants started to rub an ink stick to make ink.


Gradually, we could smell the nice scent of the ink!
After making ink, learned various drawing techniques. Since Ms. Katamine demonstrated each techniques one by one, it was very easy to find out how to draw it and all participants listened her lecture earnestly.


For me, the way of using the brush when drawing was very interesting because sometimes they painted with reverse direction of brush, or widened point of the brush. I only knew ways of using the brush for calligraphy so it was very surprising.


After practicing all techniques, we drew a landscape at the end.
Every participant had each way of using their brush, it seemed very different even though they use the same composition and models.


I asked the participants “What point is fascinating for you?”, and I got the answer that it was very simple but it had great depth.
It has no color but how much water you use or how much pressure you put on the brush makes a big difference in the outcome of the rocks or seas draw. Although color has its fascinating point, it is also very fascinating and interesting that we can represent various things only with neutral colors.

Every time I join a workshop, I feel it is very different what I know and what I experience.
I wrote at first too, even though my first impression of Sumie was very simple, by knowing the process like how to move brush made big differences, I could feel my knowledge being broadened, deepened and at the end, I always feel impressed.

During this workshop, I worried about the brush they used because it seemed to be very damaged by using it with widened point and no moisture, so I asked Ms. Katamine.
If we draw with a cheap brush made with chemical fibers, it can last only a few times. Also for ink, if we use with a cheap one contains different ingredients, it will run with water, but if we use the natural brush or ink, it can last for some years and the ink won’t run.
When it seems to be the same at a first glance, you can find differences by using. I felt that there is a real meaning in using natural tools. I would like to search how to make its tools, too!


Nice posture!

Lezing van Unagino-Nedoko

Gisteren waren CEO van Unagino-Nedoko, Takahiro Shiramizu en tolk/collega Rei Watanabe bij DutchCulture voor een lezing over de organisatie en met wat voor projecten ze bezig zijn geweest.

Ikzelf had ze gisterochtend pas voor het eerst leren kennen en kort gesproken dus ik wist er nog vrij weinig over, maar gelukkig gaven ze diezelfde dag nog een presentatie waar ik bij mocht zijn waardoor ik direct een goed beeld kreeg van deze veelzijdige organisatie

Allereerst, wat is Unagino-Nedoko? Of eerder; wat betekent het? Blijkbaar is unagi no nedoko (うなぎの寝床 letterlijk vertaald: “slaapplaats van een paling” ) een uitdrukking die gebruikt wordt bij het omschrijven van lange smalle gebouwen met een kleine ingang. Oude Japanse straten hebben nog veel van dit soort gebouwen en de winkel van Unagino-Nedoko is ook in zo een gevestigd, in Yame in de Kyushu regio.

Unagino-Nedoko is opgericht door Takahiro Shiramizu en Shogo Haraguchi, met het doel de lokale ambachten van Kyushu samen te brengen, te behouden en toegankelijk te maken voor de rest van Japan en de wereld. Dit doen ze door middel van onder andere de winkel in Yame en webshop waar ze verschillende handgemaakte producten verkopen, het organiseren van evenementen in Japan, en veel onafhankelijk onderzoek en interactie met lokale ambachtslieden, designers en geïnteresseerden.

Het was duidelijk dat Unagino-Nedoko erg veel waarde hecht aan het verhaal achter de verschillende traditionele Japanse ambachten. Zo zoeken ze steeds naar nieuwe manieren om deze waarde over te brengen aan consumenten, en de ambachtslieden dichter bij deze consumenten te brengen. Vooral op een internationale schaal is het voor te stellen dat dat heel moeilijk zal zijn, maar met het Holland-Kyushu project dat in het leven geblazen is om de culturele band tussen Nederland en Kyushu te versterken, is al een mooie samenwerking aan het bloeien.

Er zijn al verscheidene culturele uitwisselingen geweest tussen Nederlandse designers en Japanse traditionele ambachtslieden in Kyushu. Een goed voorbeeld hiervan is nog tot en met 30 oktober te bekijken op Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. Het is erg interessant om te zien hoe nieuwe ideeën en projecten ontstaan door samenwerkingen en uitwisseling van kennis tussen creatieve geesten uit twee totaal verschillende culturen. De sfeer tussen Unagino-Nedoko en de aanwezigen bij de lezing was ook heel open en informeel, er werden veel interessante dingen verteld en ik heb het gevoel dat ik ook weer een hoop heb geleerd van iedereen. Ik kijk uit naar wat de samenwerking nog meer teweeg zal brengen!


Queeny @ JCE

Hallo! Mijn naam is Queeny en ik ben de (soort van) nieuwe stagiaire van JCE. Ik heb ongeveer vier jaar lang Japans gestudeerd in Maastricht en ben onlangs afgestudeerd. In een zoektocht naar de verdere zin van het leven na het studentenleven ben ik terecht gekomen bij JCE. Hier zal ik tijdelijk ervaring opdoen in het organiseren van Japan-gerelateerde evenementen en tegelijk veel kunnen leren over Japanse (traditionele) kunst en cultuur. Er is me verteld dat er veel interessante evenementen en projecten in de planning staan, dus ik kijk ernaar uit om daaraan mee te mogen werken!

Mijn interesses zijn Japanse (rock) muziek, Japanse mode, me bezig houden met kleine creatieve projecten en reizen.

Hello! My name is Queeny and I am (kind of) the new intern of JCE. I have studied Japanese for about four years and just recently graduated. In a search for the meaning of life after student life, I ended up at JCE. Here I will gain some experience in organising events and at the same time learn about Japanese (traditional) art and culture. Lots of exciting events and projects are coming up, so I am very glad to become a part of these!

My interests are Japanese (rock) music and fashion, keeping myself busy with small creative projects and traveling.


Report of Japanese paper making workshop

Hello, I’m Tomoko, an intern of JCE.

I would like to report of the Washi Workshop last week. Most of participants were Dutch and also, there was a person who came from Turkey!

Today’s instructor is Annelinde de Jong.

She is a native Dutch who went to Ayabe city in Kyoto to study method of Kuronani Washi using an opportunity of artists in residence. Kurotani Washi is one of the intangible cultural heritages in Kyoto.

In this workshop, first, an explanation about Washi, touched materials, and started to make practically.


Annelinde gave them a detailed explanation of it. For example, about its history, materials and also the meaning of “Washi”. When they touched these materials, she showed differenses of some kinds of materials on each cooked process. Though I had experienced to make Washi before, it was first time to see each state so it’s very interesting for me, too.


Processes of making Washi are actually,

Raw materials → Cleaning → Cooking → Cleaning and rinsing → Beating → Scooping → Pressing → Drying

and in this workshop, they started from the process of putting Neri and materials, mixing them and scooping.

Dutch participants were very interested in Washi and if they had some question, asked to Annelinde right away. In this workshop, there were lots of questions and answers like “Why they beat the material?” and so on about Washi.

Each process has each meaning. Beating is to separate fibers and give them damages to make them easy to connect each other. Putting “Neri” is to make fibers dispers in the water by covered with Neri. Pressing is to drain water to dry easily, and make them stronger each connection of fibers.

Features of Washi, “Thin and Strong” is born in this way.

After understanding, everyone came to be very concentrated on their working and kept doing enthusiastically.


Incidentally, Washi which Annelinde makes are something colorful, something made with plants from Netherland. It’s very fascinating to change traditional one into her original. Her personality is also very fascinating!


Since I made my graduation certification by scooping paper when I was an elementary school student, and visited a Washi workman a few years ago, I thought I already know most thing of Washi but I had never seen the process of materials. Most of participants of this workshop knew something about Washi in advance, and wanted to experience these process.

I would like everyone to experience this workshop whether you already experienced or having knowledges, because there are still many discoveries by making again!

Finally, I want to tell a scene what I had in my mind during this workshop. It was the back of a Washi workman scooping a paper in Yame city in Fukuoka prefecture. At one time, all residents in the outskirts of his house were Washi workmans, but now, he is the only workman to keep scooping. There are people who spread these techniques over the see, on the other hand, a number of workmans are decreasing in Japan. Though I don’t know my goal yet, I want to keep this scene and feelings in my mind.




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

Buto & Jazz piano concert in Amsterdam 10 & 11 July

Resonance / Answer July” Resonance, a combination dance performance and concert piece, pairs Orihara – a principal dancer of the Martha Graham Dance Company — with renowned jazz pianist Senri Oe.

Together, they’ll share exciting new works inspired by the timeless stories and themes of dance masters and more. For the second act, Oe will present a solo jazz piano concert.

Selections will include sneak peeks of tracks from his newest album entitled Answer July, a poetic whimsical jazz view of the world, which is slated to release in July of 2016.

Date & time: 10th and 11th July, starting at 19:30

Place: Café Belcampo, Hannie Dankbaar Passage 33, 1053RT Amsterdam

Ticke: 10 Euro  



Arita Porselein van Nu – Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


1: Vazen, Kakiemon (Japan)

Op 21 april 2016 nam Emiko mij mee naar de perspreview voor de tentoonstelling van het Arita porselein in het Rijksmuseum te Amsterdam.

Geschiedenis Arita en Nederland

In 1616 ontstond voor het eerst het Arita porselein door hulp van de Koreaanse pottenbakkers. Deze pottenbakkers woonden in de omgeving van Arita. Met hun kennis en vaardigheden ontwikkelden de pottenbakkers in Arita een breed assortiment met verschillende stijlen in hun porselein. Het Arita porselein werd populair in Nederland toen de Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (V.O.C.) begon met handelen in porselein. Door onrust in China rond 1644 richtten de handelaars van de V.O.C. zich op Japan. Het Delfts blauw heeft invloeden gehad op het Arita porselein en vice versa. De collectie in het Rijksmuseum ondersteunt deze eeuwenoude culturele connectie.

Het 2016/ project

Arita is sinds 1616 een belangrijk centrum van de Japanse porseleinindustrie. De jaren tachtig waren de hoogtijdagen voor de productie, maar is hierna flink afgenomen. Het Arita 2016/ project is opgericht om de porseleinindustrie in Arita nieuw leven in te blazen. Het project is geïnitieerd door de stad Saga en creatief directeur van het voorgaande 1616/ project Arita: Teruhiro Yanagihara. Hij nodigde de ontwerpers Scholten&Baijings uit, waarna zij samen met kunstenaars over de hele wereld een zeer uitgebreid servies hebben ontworpen. Dit leverde nieuwe producten op voor het 400 jaar bestaan van het Arita porselein. (DutchCulture, 2015)


2: Borden, Scholten&Baijings (Nederland)

De expositie

Het was voor mij de eerste keer om mee te gaan naar een officiële persopening dus ik was al zeer benieuwd hoe het zou zijn. Om 10:30 begon de opening met een receptie, waarna er een korte speech werd gehouden door de vicegouverneur van Saga, Scholten&Baijings, meneer Teruhiro Yanagihara en meneer Kakiemon. Daarnaast waren ook alle pottenbakkers die jaren aan dit project gewerkt hebben aanwezig.


3: Van links naar rechts: mr. Kakiemon, mr. Fitski, mr. Yanagihara, Scholten & Baijings

Na de opening en receptie was het tijd op de expositie te bekijken. Deze is tentoongesteld in het Aziatisch Paviljoen. De expositie bestaat uit 43 porseleinen attributen met elk een verschillende stijl. De ontwerpers hebben uitleg gegeven wat voor een gedachte achter het product zat en hoe zij op het idee zijn gekomen. Een van mijn persoonlijke favorieten was het servies van Christien Meindertsma (zie foto 4). Het design oogt simpel en praktisch, maar wat het zo speciaal maakt is dat het glazuur op het servies is gemaakt van oude scherven die tot een fijn poeder zijn gestampt. Zodra je dichterbij komt, zie je hier de ‘kruimels’ nog van terug op het servies.


4: Servies, Christien Meindertsma (Nederland)

Naast deze ontwerpen is er in het Aziatisch Paviljoen ook een presentatie te zien van het Kakiemon-porselein. De 15e generatie van Kakiemon ontwierp hedendaagse objecten speciaal voor het Rijksmuseum. Deze staan samen tentoongesteld met de 17de –eeuwse stukken. Het porselein wordt dus al generaties lang gemaakt door de familie Kakiemon en is vernoemd naar meester Sakaida Kakiemon (1596-1666). De Kakiemon collectie in het Rijksmuseum bestaat uit 110 stukken en is daarmee de grootste collectie van Kakiemon porselein in Nederland. (Rijksmuseum, 2016)

Ik raad het ten zeerste aan om eens langs te gaan en een kijkje te nemen. Het is namelijk niet alleen interessant voor liefhebbers van porselein, maar ook voor liefhebbers van de Japanse traditie en cultuur!

Rachelle Verheijden (Stagiaire van JCE)

Opening Arita House in May!

Arita House Amsterdam

The Arita House is located adjacent to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in a historic building dating from 1925. The substantial premises consist of several buildings and cover an area of 645 m2, it will be open between 19 May and late December 2016.

The aim of Arita House is to connect, as well as promote, contemporary Japanese and Dutch culture, with the ambition of revitalising the unique historical exchange between Japan and The Netherlands. The Arita House in Amsterdam will show the design and production process behind the new porcelain items from the 2016/ collection, a programme of discussions, lectures, workshops and tea ceremonies will run during its opening. SHOP/SHOP is where visitors will be able to purchase porcelain from the 2016/ collections and other products from the Saga Prefecture, such as tea and sake.


Exhibition ‘2016/ collections’ & SHOP/SHOP
Opening hours: Thursday–Saturday 10.00–18.00
Location: Ruysdaelkade 2-4 1072 AG Amsterdam The Netherlands
Check the website of 2016/ for more information.