Kyushu: Key Node Between East and West
Kyushu is the third-largest island in Japan, located to the southwest of the core island of Honshu. Historically, due to the island’s proximity to the Asian continent, it has acted as a gateway to Japan. As an early centre of Japanese civilisation, it has a vast and rich history. The island of Kyushu also has historical ties with the Netherlands. A trade relationship between Japan and the Netherlands was established in the early 17th century when a Dutch outpost was set up in the port city of Hirado. The island of Kyushu became a trade hub and a key node in the partnership between the East and the West. To this day, vibrant economic and cultural bonds between Japan and the Netherlands live on.
Home of Renowned Craftsmanship
Kyushu is bubbling over with craftsmanship and artistic spirit. It has been known for centuries for its ceramics, food, and textiles, and more. Incorporating influences from nearby China and Korea, the crafts here are distinctly local, having been nurtured on the island for hundreds of years. But the beauty of Kyushu is left somewhat underappreciated in our modern age. Many of its regions are experiencing population decline as residents flow en mass to Japan’s metropolitan areas. Furthermore, with the rise of globalisation, automation and mass production, the handmade crafts of Kyushu have been threatened with disappearance.
Innovation by a New Generation
But there is a new generation of makers in Kyushu, and they’re not afraid to push boundaries when it comes to conserving the craft traditions of the area. From natural indigo dying and firework making, to colourful candy for non-humans and a whole lot in between — these makers blend time-honoured techniques with modern twists to create a concoction of historic tradition and innovation. This results in more unique, fun, sustainable, accessible and relatable craft pieces. There are a total of seven prefectures in Kyushu, and the craftspeople who are featured in the Kyushu Crafts Club come from all across the island. The exhibition showcases an eclectic mix of beautiful handicrafts in all different shapes and sizes, with a whole host of fits and functions.
The Kyushu Crafts Club shows how a new generation of makers breathe new life into centuries-old Japanese crafts
A Piece of Kyushu in Amsterdam
The Kyushu Crafts Club brings the creative spirit of Kyushu to the Netherlands. The exhibition, taking place at Club Shop in Amsterdam between 10th and 16th December 2020, takes you on a virtual tour through the island, showcasing fourteen leading makers living and working on Kyushu. On display, you can see how they transform fireworks into a higher art form, unleash a green revolution in Japanese indigo production and use centuries-old washi paper for modern design — from printing to clothing. Atmospheric film and photo collages give an exclusive insight into the creators’ workshops, you can touch their products and sample speciality tea all the way from Kyushu. The exhibition will also be transformed into a Japanese takeaway restaurant for one evening, where chefs from Kyushu serve donburi, and virtual public tours to the workshops of a number of makers will be organised.
Visit the Exhibition
Jan Evertsenstraat 16
1056 EC Amsterdam