Kimura Kada outside of his studio in Mie-ken, Japan

What is Mingei?

Mingei is a philosophy created by Japanese artists in the twentieth century that celebrates the beauty of everyday objects made by craftspeople. The Mingei tradition emphasizes the importance of apprenticeship; novices train with a Master for years until being recognized as a craftsperson in their own right. This transfer of knowledge creates a lineage that is treasured by those who study in the Mingei method.

The utilitarian nature of Mingei is often a point of confusion in the United States; oftentimes American artists create in order to stand out. In contrast, Mingei practitioners create art that mirrors that of their lineage.

Mingei also establishes that the creator is an unknown craftsperson. Instead of pursuing fame, popularity, and wealth, the Mingei craftsperson aspires to create art that is accessible to all.

Tracing the Lineage

Karatsu- Location of Kada Kimura's apprenticeship with the Nakazato* family, a 15-generation pottery family

Mie-ken- rural location of Kada Kimura's studio; location of Renee's apprenticeship.

Mashiko- location of Jasper Bond's apprenticeship with Tatsuzō Shimaoka*, first apprentice of Shōji Hamada*.

*Indicates Japanese National Living Treasure